Five Democratic members of Congress have formally requested that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland investigate the alleged receipt of gifts from conservative billionaires by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The PDF file containing the signatures of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) was released on August 11th.
Following the release of a series of reports by the left-leaning news organization ProPublica, lawmakers have requested that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
This investigation focuses on Justice Thomas’ alleged failure to disclose substantial donations received from billionaires such as Harlan Crow and others over a nearly two-decade period. This violation of federal law is viewed as a breach of his official responsibilities.
According to the most recent report published by ProPublica on August 10, Justice Thomas “secretly reaped the benefits of a far more extensive network of wealthy and well-connected patrons than was previously known.”
The report documented a total of “38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas; 26 private jet flights, plus an additional eight by helicopter; a dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox; two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast.”
Justice Thomas has apparently received a significant amount of financial support, including unannounced travels amounting to “several million dollars,” since assuming his position on the court in 1991. This extravagance has enabled him to enjoy “a lifestyle far beyond what his income could provide.”
The disclosure that Mr. Crow, a wealthy Republican donor, bestowed lavish vacations upon Thomas, provided financial support for the judge’s grandnephew’s education, and purchased inexpensive real estate from the justice’s family raises specific concerns among Democrats.
According to the letter, it has been reported that Justice Thomas has been the recipient of “numerous undisclosed valuable gifts from Harlan Crow over the course of at least fifteen years, despite certifying repeatedly that his financial disclosure forms are ‘accurate, true, and complete,’ in certifications ‘subject to civil and criminal sanctions.’”
The federal Ethics in Government Act, according to the legislators, requires judicial officers, including Supreme Court justices, “to file annual reports disclosing financial income, gifts and reimbursements, property interests, liabilities, and transactions, among other information.”
“Despite this clear mandate, Justice Thomas and his wife, Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas–a far right activist who often champions conservative causes that come before the Court–have received non-exempt gifts of significant value from Harlan Crow without reporting the source, description, and value of such gifts over the course of at least fifteen years.”
The letter asserted that “No individual, regardless of their position or stature, should be exempt from legal scrutiny for lawbreaking.”
Mr. Crow, a prominent Republican contributor, expressed his disapproval of a ProPublica piece from April against Justice Thomas, characterizing it as a “politically motivated attack.”
In a statement issued during that month, Justice Thomas reaffirmed his commitment to complying with disclosure regulations. He stated that he had “always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”
Thomas added that during his first term on the Supreme Court, he was advised that “personal hospitality from close personal friends who had no business before the Court was not reportable.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
According to legal professionals cited in ProPublica publications, it has been asserted that the Ethics in Government Act mandates Supreme Court justices to disclose any gifts received. However, contrasting viewpoints from additional legal scholars cast doubt on this interpretation. CONTINUE READING…