Justice Clarence Thomas has been under fire from the left for his conservative rulings. Progressives have urged Thomas to resign after a report in April claimed Thomas was guilty of financial ethics charges.
The report, published by ProPublica, accused Thomas of accepting bribes in the form of “luxury vacations” and “expensive gifts” from a wealthy Republican donor.
While it is true that Thomas vacationed with Harlan Crow, a wealthy GOP donor, the justice maintains that Crow has been a friend of almost 30 years and that his connection with him is not political.
In recent months, Democratic congressional representatives spearheaded new rules to provide more oversight of the personal trips and activities justices enjoy.
Fox News reported that Supreme Court justices are required to file these new disclosure forms annually. “Thomas’ 2022 report, released on Thursday, shows he has met the newly revised requirements.”
Thomas’ attorney, Elliot Burke, announced Thomas’ compliance in a statement:
“Over the course of his 44 years in public service in all three branches of government, Justice Thomas has always strived for full transparency and adherence to the law, including with respect to what personal travel needed to be reported.”
Burke continued: “For several months now, left-wing ‘watchdog’ groups have been attacking Justice Thomas for alleged ethical violations largely stemming from his relationships with personal friends who happen to be wealthy.”
The attorney added: “Democratic members of Congress have even requested that Attorney General Merrick Garland open an investigation into Justice Thomas for what they describe as ‘willful’ violations of federal law. This is calumny. Willful violations require intentional disregard or indifference. The attacks on Justice Thomas are nothing less than ridiculous and dangerous, and they set a terrible precedent for political blood sport through federal ethics filings.”
The disclosure document shows that Thomas reported transportation on a private jet travel owned by Crow in February 2022. Thomas was a keynote speaker at the American Enterprise Institute when an ice storm prompted the cancellation of his commercial airline flight.
Thomas also reported transportation and meal expenses were covered by Crow when he spoke again at the American Enterprise Institute event in May 2022. The report states Crow arranged for Thomas’ private travel due to “increased security risk following the Dobbs opinion leak.”
Crow had also paid for the justice’s transportation and meals when Thomas vacationed at his property in Keese Mill, New York, in July.
Thomas used the disclosure form to address questions arising from Crow’s purchase of property owned by the Thomas family.
The disclosure explained:
“In 2014, Mr. Harlan Crow, a longtime friend of [Thomas] and his wife, bought all three properties for $133,000, along with other houses/lots on the same street,” the disclosure states. “[Thomas] and his wife had put between $50,000 to $75,000 into his mother’s home in capital improvements over the years, and therefore, the transaction amounted to a capital loss.”
“[Thomas] had previously reported his interest in two of the Savannah properties (excluding his mother’s residence) in the years when they generated rental income. Once these properties no longer generated any rental income, [Thomas] was advised by Committee staff to remove the two properties from his disclosure forms.”
“However, [Thomas] inadvertently failed to realize that the ‘sales transaction’ for the final disposition of the three properties triggered a new reportable transaction in 2014, even though this sale resulted in a capital loss,” it stated.
Thomas maintains he is not in violation of any law. He remains well-supported by Republicans in the House and Senate. However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and House “Squad” members claim Thomas’ relationship with Crow is a “conflict of interest.”
Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) has called for a Justice Department investigation.
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