Sen. Mike Lee decries Ruth Bader Ginsburg's $1M award, saying ultimate beneficiaries not known

By Jen Krausz on
 July 23, 2023

During a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) spoke of concerns about a $1 million award given to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, saying that the ultimate beneficiaries of the prize money were never known.

"There is one allegation, it’s come to light fairly recently with regard to the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg … to the effect that she received a $1 million award that went unreported," Lee said.

When Ginsburg accepted the award from the Berggruen Institute in 2019, she pledged to give the money to charity.

The problem is, she never reported where all the money finally went, and if some of the organizations she supported had business before the court, it would have been an ethical violation.

The Institute said Ginsburg wanted to keep some of the charities a secret, so it declined to reveal them. "This might have some very significant ramifications if she was still serving on the Court," Lee said of Ginsburg’s prize. "We don’t yet know exactly what was done with that, whether she carried out the apparent intention of the stated purpose of intent at the outset to donate it to charity."

Lee's comments came during the markup of a Senate bill that would impose different ethics rules on Supreme Court justices and require them to report more gifts than in the past.