In a rare public statement, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas responded Friday to a ProPublica report that revealed that Thomas has, for decades, accepted luxury travel from billionaire Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and failed to disclose it.
Thomas’ brief statement acknowledges joining Crow and his wife, who he described as among his “dearest friends,” on “a number of family trips” over the years. He also defended his failure to disclose them.
“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 in the statement. “I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”
But seven legal ethics experts consulted by ProPublica, including former ethics lawyers for Congress and the White House, said the law clearly requires that gifts of transportation, including private jet flights, be disclosed. If Thomas is arguing otherwise, the experts said, he is incorrect. [Continue reading…]