Is Justice Clarence Thomas Guilty of Felony Ethics Violations?
Monday, February 14, 2011
Justice Clarence Thomas has been required since he joined U.S. Supreme Court in 1991 to disclose the income of his wife—something he failed to do until a liberal advocacy group blew the whistle on his inaction. Thomas has insisted the reporting failure was merely “a misunderstanding of filing instructions.” But Common Cause and other organizations aren’t buying the excuse.
Common Cause President Bob Edgar said it was “difficult to believe” and “implausible” that Thomas, a 20-year member of the high court, didn’t know the law pertaining to disclosure.
ProtectOurElections.org accused Thomas of receiving special treatment from the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Committee on Financial Disclosure by allowing him to file two decades worth of amendments to cover up for his breaking the law.
From 2003 to 2009, Thomas did not report more than $680,000 in income that his wife, Virginia Thomas, earned from working for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. He also did not reveal, until now, her earnings with the foundation during the period 1998-2003.
Thomas’ filing errors could result in a felony conviction if he were to be brought up on charges, according to ProtectOurElections.org.
As far back as 1989, Thomas marked the “NONE” box for his spouse’s non-investment income on his judicial financial disclosure forms. On January 21, 2011, he filed amendments admitting that his disclosure forms were wrong.
Meanwhile, his wife continues to draw attention to herself with her conservative political activism, as “she is rebranding herself as a lobbyist and self-appointed ‘ambassador to the Tea Party movement,’” writes Eric Lichtblau in The New York Times. Her work raises the question whether Clarence Thomas can remain independent on matters before the Supreme Court that his wife has invested herself in. On the website of her new lobbying firm, Liberty Consulting, Inc., Ginni Thomas promises “to leverage her 30 years of experience as a Washington ‘insider’ to assist non-establishment ‘outsiders’ who share her belief in our core founding principles and values.”
POE Issues New Press Release Re: Clarence Thomas (Protect Our Elections)
Clarence Thomas Letters (Velvet Revolution) (pdf)
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ Failure to Disclose Income of Spouse (Common Cause) (pdf)
Justice Thomas’s Wife Sets Up a Conservative Lobbying Shop (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)
Clarence Thomas Didn’t Report Wife’s Political Income (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Clarence Thomas’ Wife May Have Benefitted from His Vote on Campaign Financing (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Wife of Supreme Court Justice Thomas Starts Conservative Lobbying Group (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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