Another Justice Clarence Thomas’ ethics issue reached the headlines last weekend. Mike McIntire, of The New York Times, wrote an article Saturday entitled, “Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics.” The article focused on the financial relationship between Clarence Thomas and Harlan Crow, “a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes.” McIntire points out that:
“Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the (Pin Point) cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point (Thomas’s hometown in Georgia) that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s.
In several instances, news reports of Mr. Crow’s largess provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a rising debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow’s financing of the museum, his largest such act of generosity, previously unreported, raises the sharpest questions yet — both about Justice Thomas’s extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct for federal judges”.
The important point here is that this act was “previously unreported.” And, if an investigative reporter did not uncover this action now, it would still be undisclosed by the Supreme Court justice. It seems that Justice Thomas does not disclose questionable income and financial transactions, even though he is required by law to do so.
In February, it was reported by The New York Times that Justice Thomas had some discrepancies in his disclosures related to his attendance at a Koch brothers’ gathering in Palm Springs:
“When questions were first raised about the retreat last month, a court spokeswoman said Justice Thomas had made a ‘brief drop-by’ at the event in Palm Springs, Calif., in January 2008 and had given a talk.
In his financial disclosure report for that year, however, Justice Thomas reported that the Federalist Society, prominent conservative legal group, had reimbursed him an undisclosed amount for four days of ‘transportation, meals and accommodations’ over the weekend of the retreat. The event is organized by Charles and David Koch, brothers who have used millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita, Kan., to finance conservative causes.”
More importantly, the advocacy group Common Cause discovered that Justice Thomas had never reported any of his wife’s (Ginni Thomas) income from various ultra-conservative groups. As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley noted in the LA Times:
“… Common Cause discovered that Thomas had failed to disclose a source of income for 13 years on required federal forms. Thomas stated that his wife, Virginia, had no income, when in truth she had hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from conservative organizations, including roughly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Thomas reported ‘none’ in answering specific questions about ‘spousal non-investment income’ on annual forms — answers expressly made ‘subject to civil and criminal sanctions’."
The operative words here are: “subject to civil and criminal sanctions.” In other words, Justice Thomas’s actions were allegedly against the law. Which begs the question:
"Why hasn’t Congress begun drafting articles of impeachment against Justice Thomas?" Before answering that question, however, let’s look at this situation in reverse.
Let’s assume that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer had failed to report income associated with a speech given at the annual U.S. Socialist Conference, where the International Socialist Organization (ISO) picked up all of his four-day expenses. In addition, let’s assume that Justice Breyer illegally failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to his wife by MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood during the last thirteen years.
How long do you think it would take for the conservative members of the House to begin drafting articles of impeachment against Justice Breyer? Two days??
In this scenario, the Koch-sponsored Tea Party rallies would now be taking place on the Washington Mall as well as in every major city in America. News stories entitled “Impeach Che Breyer” would be seen 24/7 on Fox, along with copy-cat coverage by the mainstream media (M$M).
Furthermore, the conservatives in Congress would refuse to lift the debt ceiling until a majority of their members agreed to initiate impeachment proceedings against the "Marxist Breyer." And, the M$M would agree.
Could the same thing happen to ultra-conservative Clarence Thomas in our current political-media environment?
Do pigs fly?