Clarence Thomas has reported receiving only two gifts since 2004

Clarence Thomas has reported receiving only two gifts since 2004

The Washington Post reports:

“Justice Thomas Reports Wealth of Gifts” was the title of a December 2004 front-page story in the Los Angeles Times, detailing how Clarence Thomas had received gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars over the prior six years — far more than the other justices on the Supreme Court at the time.

The story appears to have marked a turning point for Thomas and his public disclosures of gifts. Since the news account was published 18 years ago, Thomas has reported receiving just two gifts, according to a Washington Post review of his financial disclosure forms posted online by nonprofit groups Fix the Court and OpenSecrets.

Thomas has come under particular scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest, in part because of the political activities of his wife, conservative leader Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. On Thursday, that scrutiny intensified: ProPublica reported that over the past two decades, Texas billionaire and conservative donor Harlan Crow repeatedly hosted the justice on his private jet, his private yacht and at his private Adirondacks retreat.

Thomas did not report most of Crow’s largesse on public financial disclosure forms — the same kinds of forms he used to report gifts before 2004. Crow told the news outlet that he had provided hospitality to the Thomases just as he had to many other friends.

In a statement Friday, Thomas cited that personal friendship.

He said that he and his wife joined Crow on various trips. “Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable,” Thomas said.

Federal judges may not accept gifts from anyone with business before the court and they must report all gifts worth more than $415, according to current rules. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.