Senate Democrats Call for Investigation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

In a letter Last week, two Democratic senators called on the U.S. attorney general to launch a special investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas over a series of potential ethics and tax violations.

Recent reports have revealed that Thomas repeatedly failed to disclose trips, gifts and other benefits from wealthy businesspeople in his financial disclosure reports, as required by federal law.

A ProPublica 2023 Survey The investigation found that Thomas accepted two luxury trips in 2019, paid for by Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, that were not listed on disclosure forms. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating such possible violations, found that Thomas also failed to disclose at least three other paid private jet trips from 2017 to 2021 on his revelations.

In the letter, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Federal Courts, and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate potential ethics and tax violations, as well as false statements, involving Thomas’ receipt of favors from wealthy political donors.

“We do not make this request lightly,” the lawmakers wrote. “The evidence gathered so far clearly suggests that Judge Thomas committed numerous willful violations of federal ethics and false statements laws and raises significant questions about whether he and his wealthy benefactors complied with their federal tax obligations.”

“When given the opportunity to answer questions about his conduct, Justice Thomas remained suspiciously silent.”

In addition to investigating the undisclosed gifts, the letter also requests that a special counsel determine whether the judge violated federal ethics and tax laws by failing to repay a significant portion of a more than $267,000 loan he used to buy a luxury vehicle and then failing to disclose the forgiven debt as income in his ethics filings.

This information, which was found in a investigation Wyden’s committee report raised questions about whether the judge also properly reported the amount of the forgiven loan on his tax returns.

Thomas’ attorney, Elliot S. Berke, previously said the judge tried to conform to financial disclosures of gifts and travel as they existed at the time.

“Justice Thomas has consistently worked to ensure full transparency and compliance with the law, including with respect to personal travel that was required to be reported,” Berke said in a statement. statement last year, adding that any errors were “strictly unintentional.”

According to The Washington PostGarland has appointed only three special counsels during his tenure: to oversee investigations involving former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

HuffPost reached out to the Justice Department to see if Garland is considering a special prosecutor, but did not immediately receive a response.

Thomas has received more than $4 million in gifts over the past three decades, but he is not alone in accepting such favors. His fellow judges have accepted gifts worth a combined $248,000, according to a report by the judicial reform group Fix the court.