Ginni Thomas pressed Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory

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Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory not only in Arizona, as previously reported, but also in a second battleground state, Wisconsin, according to emails obtained under state public-records law.

The Washington Post reported this year that Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers, some of them twice, in November and December 2020. She urged them to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and “choose” their own presidential electors, despite the fact that the responsibility for choosing voters remains with voters under Arizona state law.

The new emails show that Thomas also messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin: state Sen. Kathy Bernier, then chair of the Senate elections committee, and state Rep. Gary Tauchen. Bernier and Tauchen received the email at 10:47 am on Nov. 9, virtually the same time the Arizona lawmakers received a verbatim copy of the message from Thomas. The Bernier email was obtained by The Post, and the Tauchen email was obtained by the watchdog group Documented and provided to The Post.

Thomas sent all of the emails via FreeRoots, an online platform that allowed people to send pre-written emails to multiple elected officials.

“Please stand strong in the face of media and political pressure,” read the emails sent Nov. 9, just days after major media organizations called the presidency for Biden. “Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our Constitution. And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen for our state.”

Neither Thomas nor her lawyer, Mark Paoletta, responded to requests for comment. The Supreme Court spokeswoman did not respond to a message seeking comment from Clarence Thomas.

Ginni Thomas’s political activism is highly unusual for the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, and for years it has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest for her husband. She has said that the two of them keep their professional lives separate.

But scrutiny of the Thomases intensified this year after The Post and CBS News obtained copies of text messages that Ginni Thomas exchanged with Mark Meadows, then President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, in the weeks following the 2020 election. Thomas repeatedly urged Meadows to keep fighting to overturn the election results. After Congress certified Biden’s victory Jan. 6, 2021, she expressed anger at Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused to intervene to keep Trump in office. “We are living through what feels like the end of America,” Thomas wrote to Meadows four days later.

Thomas was also in touch during the post-election period with John Eastman, the pro-Trump lawyer who once clerked for her husband, and whose role in the effort to overturn Biden’s win has drawn scrutiny from both the Justice Department and the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot. In early December 2020, Thomas invited Eastman to speak at a meeting of Frontliners for Liberty, which she described as a group of grass-roots activists, according to an email that Eastman published online.

The agenda for the meeting has not been publicly disclosed. But a federal judge ruling on which records had to be turned over in response to a subpoena from the committee wrote that the agenda shows Eastman discussed “State legislative actions that can reverse the media-called election for Joe Biden.” US District Judge David O. Carter ordered Eastman to give congressional investigators emails related to Thomas and meetings of her Frontliners group, finding that the “furthered a critical objective of the January 6 plan: to have contested states certify alternate slates of electors for President Trump.”

The House committee asked Thomas to sit for a voluntary interview in June. The committee also sought a broad range of documents from her dela, including any related plans to overturn the election and all communications with members of Congress and their staff and Justice Department employees, according to a copy of the request published by the conservative Daily Caller .

At the time, Thomas indicated she would comply. “I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them,” Thomas told the Daily Caller, her former employer.

Less than two weeks later, on June 28, Paoletta told the committee that while Thomas willing to sit for an interview, he did not believe there was “sufficient basis” for her to do so.

In a letter obtained by The Post, Paoletta — a longtime close associate of the Thomases — described Ginni Thomas’s text messages to Meadows as “entirely unremarkable” and said they do not suggest she had any role in the attack on the Capitol. He cast her invitation to Eastman as simply an invitation to speak, not an endorsement of his views or “any indication of a working relationship.” He also said she played no role in organizing the email campaign to Arizona lawmakers and did not draft or edit the form letters she sent.

In an interview, Bernier, the Wisconsin lawmaker, said it would have been appropriate for the state legislature to consider decertifying the 2020 results in the weeks following the election if evidence had emerged of significant voter fraud. “But as we went through the process and the legal challenges were made and discounted by the judicial system, there was nothing proven as far as actual voter fraud,” she said.

Bernier said she had not realized that Thomas was among the thousands of people who emailed her after the election, but she said Thomas “has a First Amendment right to speak her mind.”

“I was married for 20 years. I took on some identity of my husband, but I had my own mind,” Bernier said. “Just because you’re married to someone doesn’t mean that you’re a clone.”

Tauchen did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Democratic lawmakers renewed calls to create a code of ethical conduct for the US Supreme Court amid mounting scrutiny of Justice Thomas and his wife. (Video: The Washington Post)

Thomas’s Nov. 9 email was one of thousands sent via the FreeRoots platform that inundated Bernier and Tauchen’s offices in the weeks after the election, records show.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported in January 2021 that of more than 10,000 pages of emails received during that period by Bernier and state Rep. Ron Tusler (R), then the chair of his chamber’s elections committee, the majority were “mass-generated form letters making nonspecific claims about alleged irregularities, a right-wing fraud-finding effort and a clip from Fox’s Sean Hannity show.”

The fact that Thomas sent one of the FreeRoots emails to Bernier has not been previously reported. “Please do your Constitutional duty!” she read the subject line of the message she sent.

According to the records disclosed by Bernier’s office to The Post, Thomas the fourth of more than 30 people who felt that particular form email Nov. 9 and 10. The first sender of that email, three hours before Thomas, was a person named Stephanie Coleman, according to the records.

A woman named Stephanie Miller Coleman is the widow of one of Clarence Thomas’s former clerks. She was listed as the co-administrator, with Thomas, of a private Facebook group for Frontliners. The page listing the group’s administrators is no longer publicly visible.

Coleman did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Ginni Thomas’s communications with key players in the effort to overturn the election have led to calls for her husband to refuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election and attempts to subvert it. Clarence Thomas has given no indication that he intends to do so.

This year, eight Supreme Court justices declined Trump’s request to block congressional investigators from gaining access to White House records that might shed light on the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Thomas was the only justice to dissent, siding with Trump.

Jacqueline Germany contributed to this report.

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