Clarence Thomas Finally Discloses Lavish Trips Paid by Harlan Crow

Olivier Douliery/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally owned up that two 2019 trips he took that were paid for by conservative Texas billionaire Harlan Crow, according to 2023 financial disclosures released Friday.

In his disclosure report, Thomas admitted that Crow paid for food and lodging during a July 2019 trip to Bali, Indonesia, and a four-day stay at a California private club a week later.

The trips were described as “inadvertently omitted” from past years’ disclosures and added after Thomas sought “guidance from his accountant and ethics counsel.” However, both trips were uncovered last year by ProPublica in a sweeping investigation of the undisclosed financial entanglements between Thomas and Crow. At the time, Thomas claimed he was advised that this “personal hospitality from close personal friends” wasn’t something he was required to report.

Clarence Thomas Still Won’t Say if He Paid for His Beloved Luxury R.V.

Justices are required to disclose gifts, investments, and outside income to the public for transparency in case there is a suspected conflict of interest.

Thomas began taking steps to disclose some of Crow’s gifts last year, when he belatedly reported Crow’s purchase of three of his family’s properties that happened years earlier. He also reported private jet travel provided by Crow, citing a clarification of judicial ethics policies, but argued that he was not obligated to report previous years’ jet travel.

A group of Democratic lawmakers have asked the Judicial Conference, which is charged with setting guidelines for the judiciary, to review Thomas’ disclosure patterns, saying he may have violated the Ethics in Government Act. Those allegations are still under review, the Conference said in March.

There were a few other notable disclosures from the other justices’ reports, largely for the sum of money being disclosed rather than the source. Justices Brett Kavanagh, Neil Gorsuch, and Ketanji Brown Jackson all received six-figure payouts for book deals, records show. Jackson also got four tickets totaling nearly $4,000 to a Beyoncé concert, straight from the singer herself. Justice Sonia Sotomayor disclosed that she was paid $1,900 for a single guest appearance on an animated kids’ TV show, Alma’s Way, in which she voiced herself.

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