Clarence Thomas Admits He Should Have Disclosed Gifts From GOP Megadonor

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has finally decided to disclose gifts he received from a GOP megadonor. The gifts in question were reported on last year by ProPublica, kicking off an ethical scandal surrounding the longtime conservative justice.

Thomas, in a financial disclosure made public on Friday, acknowledged that conservative billionaire Harlan Crow paid for Thomas to join him on trips to Bali and California in 2019. Thomas wrote in the filing that he “inadvertently omitted” the gifts from Crow in previous filings and that his inclusion of the gifts on this year’s filing came after he “sought and received guidance from his accountant and ethics counsel.”

ProPublica first reported last April on Thomas’ relationship with Crow, noting that “virtually every year,” he had accepted rides on private jets, stays at private resorts, and invitations to hang out on yachts owned by the Texas-based billionaire who has given millions to right-wing causes. ProPublica later revealed that Crow also bought $133,000 worth of property from Thomas, allowing his mother to live there and that he paid private school tuition for a child Thomas was raising. The revelations have led to intense scrutiny of Thomas’ ability to rule impartially while inspiring calls for the Supreme Court to institute a stringent code of ethics.

Thomas denied any wrongdoing, claiming he and his wife have long been friends with the Crows and that he didn’t need to disclose “this sort of personal hospitality.” The filing made public on Friday marks the first time Thomas has acknowledged that he did indeed need to disclose the degree to which Crow funded their vacations.

The admission isn’t likely to assuage many concerns about the Supreme Court working in accordance with the far-right first and Constitution second. Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, played a role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results, and Thomas has refused to recuse himself from cases pertaining to that effort. Justice Samuel Alito has also refused to recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases after The New York Times reported that two flags associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement flew at his residences.

In refusing to recuse himself, Alito blamed his wife, writing in a statement that she is “fond of flying flags.”

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