Clarence Thomas Secretly Cozied Up to Big Oil Billionaires Ahead of Landmark Case on Protections for Clean Air and Water, Climate Safeguards, and More

WASHINGTON, D.C. – ProPublica’s latest investigation reveals Justice Clarence Thomas’s close ties to Big Oil billionaire Charles Koch, his late brother David, and their vast network of right-wing political donors—right as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a pivotal environmental case backed by the Koch network. This case aims to curtail the federal government’s power to protect clean air and water and address other vital problems like climate change, with Koch network lawyers pushing to overturn environmental protection precedents. More broadly, the case also poses a danger to other consumer protections such as drug regulation, food safety, and efforts to combat financial fraud and abuse.

Once again, Big Oil is driving an effort to eliminate vital protections that we all rely on, striving for more leeway to pollute and increase profits at the expense of families, our environment, and the climate. This pattern isn’t new; during the 2022 election cycle, Big Oil spent $34.6 million on Congressional campaign contributions. The industry knows it’s unpopular with voters—nine in 10 Americans (89%) support leaders cracking down on oil and gas companies that engage in price gouging, including 65% who strongly support this, and 76% support taxing the excessive profits generated by oil and gas companies.