Clarence Thomas Didn’t Report Wife’s Political Income

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Clarence and Virginia Thomas (AP Photo: Charles Dharapak)
Chalking up the problem to a misunderstanding, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas acknowledged on Monday that he failed to disclose his wife’s income from a conservative think tank for five years, putting him in violation of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act.
Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007, according to the liberal advocacy group, Common Cause, which uncovered the information from the think tank’s IRS records. But her husband did not note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, declaring instead that she had no “noninvestment income.”
Justice Thomas said his wife’s earnings were “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”
He also filed amended disclosures listing his wife’s employment with the Heritage Foundation, as well with Hillsdale College in Michigan, for whom she ran a constitutional law center in Washington.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Thomas Says He Erred on Disclosure (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)
Letter to Eric Holder (Common Cause)
Clarence Thomas’ Wife May Have Benefitted from His Vote on Campaign Financing (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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