According to a report released on Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas did not declare selling real estate to the same wealthy GOP contributor who brought him along on expensive vacations.
According to ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news company, in 2014, Harlan Crow, a Texan billionaire, made a payment of over $133,000 to Thomas for their home and two empty properties. Ethics law experts informed ProPublica that Thomas may have broken the law by failing to report the sale of the properties, as doing so would have been required by a federal disclosure requirement requiring justices to report facts about real estate sales above $1,000.
Allegations that Thomas and his wife Ginni had taken multiple vacations over the past 20 years, all paid for by Crow, were disclosed in a ProPublica investigation on April 6. According to the investigation, which relies on interviews and documentation, the pair took several secret trips using Crow’s private jet and yacht. Thomas allegedly visited Crow at his own resort in the Adirondacks and accompanied him on trips to the posh Bohemian Grove in California.
According to ProPublica, on October 15, 2014, Crow purchased three homes in Savannah, Georgia, from Thomas, his mother, and the family of his late brother. The purchases were evidenced by a state tax document and a deed.
The investigative publication claims that after purchasing the single-story property where Thomas’ mother had been residing, Crow spent tens of thousands of dollars remodeling the space. The roof was supposedly fixed, and a new fence and carport were installed.
According to ProPublica, Thomas failed to include Crow as the buyer on the disclosure form he filed in 2014.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) chief ethics attorney Virginia Canter told ProPublica that he was required by law to disclose his involvement in the sale. You have to question if this was an attempt to line Thomas and his wife’s pockets with cash.
Thomas addressed the backlash to his vacation by justifying his status as a close friend and confidant to Crow and his wife. He said that Harlan and Kathy Crow are among his greatest friends, and they have been friends for nearly twenty-five years.
Justice Thomas noted, accurately, the rules about financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just published new directions, which represents a shift away from the previous recommendations. He said in the future he plans to adhere to the new directives.