On Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas was accused of receiving improper gifts, including a yacht and private jet travel. Thomas has now issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.
Thomas stated, “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.”
JUST IN #SCOTUS Justice Thomas issues statement on Propublica report on disclosures. pic.twitter.com/zFaWzHpmdt
— Nicole (@nicninh) April 7, 2023
ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, made damaging allegations that Thomas allegedly accepted luxury vacations from real estate magnate and Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow every year for over two decades without disclosing them. The trips include vacationing on Crow’s super-yacht around the world, going to the Bohemian Grove and visiting Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas.
Thomas’ full response read:
Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known 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. I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with disclosure guidelines. These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure over the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez commented on the allegations, saying “Thomas must be impeached.”
This is beyond party or partisanship. This degree of corruption is shocking – almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached.
Barring some dramatic change, this is what the Roberts court will be known for: rank corruption, erosion of democracy, and the stripping of human rights. https://t.co/t8fnGLVhbV
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 6, 2023
The Code of Conduct for United States Judges requires judges to disclose gifts that they receive, subject to certain exceptions. However, there may be some exceptions for gifts that are of a personal nature and unrelated to the judge’s official duties.