Clarence Thomas declares lavish trips with megadonor Harlan Crow in 2022 financial disclosure

Supreme Court Justices have come under scruinty this past year for failing to disclose lavish trips and gifts on their financial reports

Ariana Baio
Thursday 31 August 2023 13:29 EDT

Clarence Thomas compares Supreme Court leak to ‘infidelity’ that eroded trust

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas included several trips that were paid for by Harlan Crow on his 2022 financial disclosure report, after months of accusations pertaining to his financial ties to the wealthy conservative.

Under “reimbursements”, Justice Thomas included four lines, three of which were attributed to Mr Crow, in which his travel, transportation, meals or lodging were paid for.

In one instance from February 2022, Mr Crow paid for Justice Thomas to fly privately from the American Enterprise Institute’s Conference due to an “unexpected ice storm”.

Another, from May 2022, reveals Mr Crow paid for Justice Thomas’s transportation and meals after the Dobbs v Jackson opinion leak because the Administrative Office “recommended noncommercial travel whenever possible” due to increased security risk.”

Justice Thomas also received transportation, meals, entertainment and lodging from Mr Crow in July 2022 when he stayed at Mr Crow’s Adirondacks property.

In a note specific to that trip, the Supreme Court Justice added that the trip was “consistent with previous filings by other filers” but that it was moved from the “gifts” section to “reimbursements” in accordance with new guidance.

Justice Thomas’s disclosure comes after months of scrutiny from lawmakers and the public about his failure to reveal his ties to Mr Crow – a prominent billionaire and Republican donor.

An investigation first published by ProPublica revealed Justice Thomas accepted luxurious vacations from Mr Crow as well as gifts from other wealthy businesspeople for decades without disclosing it.

The revelation caused massive backlash leading lawmakers to consider implementing a new ethics code for the Court

In a letter addressed to the Department of Justice, House Democrats urged the department to investigate Justice Thomas for failing to report “significant gifts he received from Harlan Crow and other billionaires for nearly two decades in defiance of his duty under federal law.”

Activists attend a rally calling for an investigation into US Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, on Capitol Hill

Supreme Court Justices are required to report their finances in an annual financial disclosure report though they are not subject to the interpretations of the Judicial Conference’s ethics laws.

Justice Thomas has responded to criticism by claiming gifts and travel did not need to be reported because it was “personal hospitality from close personal friends.”

Justice Thomas’ financial report was released on Thursday, approximately two months after other Justices’ financial disclosure reports were made public.

Both Justice Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito requested 90-day extensions, though they did not clarify why.

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