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SUZANNE DOWNING: What ProPublica’s Crusade Against Conservative SCOTUS Justices Is Really About


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Suzanne Downing Contributor
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ProPublica launched a partisan “investigation,” this time targeting another conservative U.S. Supreme Court member.

As if on cue, mainstream media outlets jumped on the bandwagon, relishing in the prospect of free content for their publications — content that undermines conservative jurists, and conservative lawmakers by association. This is purely political payback for the Dobbs decision of 2022. (RELATED: ‘Destroys Its Own Story’: Look What ProPublica Buried In The 73rd Paragraph Of Its Piece On Justice Alito)

The latest subject of the nonprofit’s assault is Justice Samuel Alito, author of the Dobbs decision, which sent the question of abortion rights back to the states, since the Constitution does not give that authority to the federal government.

Alito’s so-called transgression? A personal salmon fishing excursion to Alaska in 2008, which, according to ProPublica, was not duly reported in his disclosures.

This ProPublica trophy is a minnow in the sea of things about which Americans are concerned. It’s dragnet “journalism” reminiscent of ProPublica’s recent attack on Justice Clarence Thomas.

In that instance, the political action committee posing as a newsroom attempted to discredit Thomas based on the fact that a friend had purchased Thomas’ elderly mother’s home with plans to transform it into a museum.

With the anniversary of the Dobbs decision approaching, media outlets with a left-leaning bias increasingly utilize ProPublica as a source.

It must be repeated regularly that ProPublica is, at its core, a politically motivated group funded by Democratic billionaires with the clear mission of attacking Republicans. Thanks to the nonprofit’s partisan benefactors, the group has grown from a mere two-person operation in 2007 to over 100 today.

This ProPublica PAC, if we are to be honest about what it is, works hand-in-glove with a media that has not chosen to spend for its own investigative reporting. Theirs is a co-dependent relationship that leaves newsrooms compromised, because they are not looking behind the curtain at the organization providing them with “news.”

Let’s critically examine these ProPublica attacks. In the case of Alito, ProPublica emphatically claims that he failed to report a fishing trip with a billionaire in his annual disclosure form.

An important detail relegated to the end of the story is that another judge had previously sought advice from the Judicial Conference on whether to disclose a similar journey. The verdict was that it wasn’t necessary, as it was a personal trip. Alito was leaning on that decision. Despite changes to the rules since then, Alito was aware of the regulations in 2008 and understood what should and should not be included in his disclosure forms.

Moving on to ProPublica’s description of the “luxury fishing trip,” the King Salmon Lodge, while comfortable and pleasant, is far from opulent. It doesn’t feature a golf course or a day spa; it’s simply a lodge, whose upkeep in the harsh Alaskan environment is a costly endeavor. The rooms are spare, and the decor is woodsy, not ritzy.

The costs associated with running such lodges, in locations where all food and necessities have to be flown in, result in a nightly rate that reflects the high cost of living in Alaska’s wilderness. In four short months, lodge owners must make enough to keep the lodge in working order throughout the long, harsh winter.

Shifting to ProPublica’s ludicrous story about Justice Thomas, the supposed revelation was laughable. Thomas’ 94-year-old mother, who is a descendent of Gullah-Geechee slaves and for whom Gullah was a fist language, resides in a very modest house in Savannah, Georgia.

The house and adjacent two lots, the equivalent of a side yard, were sold to a wealthy friend of Thomas,’ who ProPublica insistently labels as a “GOP donor,” as if he personally donates to Thomas.

Then, ProPublica claimed that Thomas under-reported the value of the house on his disclosure forms back in 2009, when he valued the house at $15,000. A few years ago he sold the house to Harlan Crow, a friend of his, for $133,000. Thomas’ mom still lives there today.

Real estate values in Savannah have skyrocketed in the past 20 years, making this an underachieving fishing expedition by ProPublica. Thomas, who has been attacked by Democrats since the day of his nomination, merely needs to update his disclosure reports. (RELATED: ProPublica’s Top Donors Also Bankroll Activist Groups Targeting Justice Clarence Thomas)

Here we have a political effort, paid for by the billionaire Democrat donors of ProPublica, to tarnish the reputations of both Thomas and Alito. ProPublica’s focus on their relationships with “GOP donors” and subsequent actions paints a biased picture and is richly ironic, considering who funds ProPublica’s entire operation.

All of these Democrat donors to ProPublica are funding the same groups trying to force Thomas to resign from the court, as detailed by the Daily Caller News Foundation earlier this month.

ProPublica has soiled its britches once again. It’s time that when Americans speak the word “ProPublica,” they need to add “Democrat Political Action Committee” to the name.

Suzanne Downing is the publisher of Must Read Alaska.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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