Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has spent more than two decades arranging luxury trips, including a superyacht and a private jet from a major Republican supporter, a new report says.
ProPublica reported on Thursday several rides funded by Dallas businessman Harlan Crowe. Thomas spends a week each summer at Crowe’s private resort in the Adirondacks, the publication said. The judge took a vacation at Crowe’s ranch in East Texas and checked into Crowe’s Bohemian Grove, the only men’s retreat in California.
Propublica Thomas and his wife Virginia “Ginny” Thomas mentioned a nine-day trip to Indonesia in 2019 shortly after the judge made his final decision on the final day. According to the publication, the cost of the couple’s Crowe plane flight and superyacht trip to the island would have cost more than $500,000 if the couple had paid for it themselves.
Neither the Supreme Court nor Thomas immediately responded to questions about the report Thursday morning. ProPublica said it did not respond to questions about the Thomas report.
In his statement, Crowe acknowledged that he had provided Thomas with “hospitality over the years,” but said the couple “never asked for such hospitality” and did not try to change the court system in their courtrooms.
“We have never asked, nor have Justice Thomas ever discussed, nor have we tried to influence Justice Thomas on any legal or political issue,” Crowe said. “Generally speaking, I don’t know any friends who tried to influence or influence Judge Thomas, and I don’t think I would invite anyone who would try to do so… This is a group of friends.
Federal law requires top officials in all three branches of government, including the Supreme Court, to file annual forms detailing their sources of income, foreign income and spouse’s income, and each branch sets its own reporting standards.
Judges are prohibited from accepting gifts from anyone in court. However, until recently, the judiciary did not make an exception for gifts deemed to be ‘personal entertainment’.
The revised law, approved by the Judiciary Committee, the court’s decision-making body, aims to ensure greater accountability. The rules came into effect on March 14.
Gifts such as an overnight stay at a friend’s private vacation home are still exempt from reporting. However, the revised rules require notification when judges are asked to stay on commercial properties such as hotels, ski resorts or corporate hunting lodges. The amendments also clarify that judges must report personal air travel.
According to ProPublica, Thomas’ trip, which was funded by the Ravens, does not appear in his financial records.
In a statement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois) pledged that his staff would take action in response to ProPublica’s report, saying Thomas’ behavior was “simply … contrary to the standards of conduct expected of the American people.” Any civil servant, much less a Supreme Court judge.
Durbin and other Democrats have again called on the Supreme Court to enact stricter ethics rules that would include a process for investigating alleged misconduct, and Democrats have called on Thomas to resign.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-D), who sponsored legislation to allow the Court to approve the Ethics Act, said: “This Supreme Court – and not just every state Supreme Court – needs an independent investigation.” .
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, has pledged to use the spending process to ensure the Supreme Court applies the same code of conduct as other members. Federal Court
“The Supreme Court should have a code of conduct that guides the conduct of its members, and failure to adhere to those standards has eroded confidence in the nation’s highest court,” Van Hollen said.
Is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Corrupt? You don’t know,” House caucus Rep. Ted Lew (D-CA) tweeted. But his secret activities are totally corrupt, he should resign for the good of the country.
“The extent of his corruption is shocking, almost a caricature,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortz (DNI), who called for Thomas’ resignation, repeating her call Thursday.
White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre had no comment Thursday.
While the vast financial scale of Thomas Crowe’s travels remains undisclosed, the multi-millionaire’s donations to the justice system have been talked about.
The New York Times In 2011, Crowe reported that Thomas and his wife received several benefits, including a multi-million dollar purchase and renovation of the Canary Pet Justice Project in Pine Point, Georgia.
The Times also reported that Crowe funded a dedicated library project for Thomas in Savannah, Georgia, gave her a Frederick Douglass Bible and gave her $500,000 to start the Jennie Thomas Tea Group.
In the year Thomas, who joined the court in 1991, has in recent years focused on other ethical issues related to his wife’s political activism. He has dealt with many individuals and groups in court and handled some of the country’s most controversial legal cases.
Jenny Thomas emailed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to continue his efforts to defeat Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential bid, asking state lawmakers to vote for Joe Biden when they cast their ballots. When The Post reported on her efforts last year, she questioned whether her husband’s election lawsuit should be dismissed.
A little-known group of conservative activists led by Ginny Thomas raised $600,000 from an anonymous donor three years ago to wage a culture war on the left, The Post reported last month. Previously undocumented donations to the new Culture and Freedom Group, a right-wing Washington think tank, agreed to act as a funding channel from 2019 to early last year, according to documents and interviews.
Jonathan O’Connell, Anne E. Marimu, Sean Beuberg and Emma Brown contributed to this report.