BOUGHT: Clarence Thomas’ connection to right-wing billionaire exposed

BOUGHT: Clarence Thomas' connection to right-wing billionaire exposed

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has come under heat over the past year after revelations that the conservative jurist was party to a pay-for-play scheme to push a far-right agenda.

But a recent expose by the independent investigative media outlet ProPublica shows just how far deep the court member’s corruption goes.

According to reports, Thomas enjoyed luxury perks like private plane trips and yacht excursions to foreign countries on the dime of GOP megadonor Harlan Crow – and red flags have been waved.

“It’s no wonder that the American people are losing faith in the idea that they can get a fair shake before the nation’s highest court when they see a Supreme Court justice openly flouting basic disclosure rules in order to pal around with billionaires in secret.” – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

For over two decades, the Texas billionaire has treated Justice Thomas and his wife on six-figure vacations as far as Indonesia and hosted the couple at his sprawling East Texas ranch.

Crow has also been tied to U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

In 2021, the mega-donor gave nearly $10,000 to then-Democrat Sinema’s campaign and a PAC associated with Democrat in Name Only (DINO) Sen. Manchin getting close to $3,000 the same year, Business Insider reported.

Booked separately, Thomas could have spent upwards of half a million dollars for just one trip alone, despite being left off of mandatory financial disclosures.

After Watergate, Congress passed a law that required federal officials – justices and judges included – to report financial benefits tied to their position.

“It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” Harvard Law professor and former US District Court judge Nancy Gertner said.

According to Gertner, Justice Thomas “seems to have completely disregarded his higher ethical obligations.”

As a public servant, Thomas’ salary doesn’t meet the standard needed of someone living a jet-setting lifestyle usually reserved for billionaires and celebrities.

The recent backlash on what has been increasingly seen as a delegitimized entity isn’t helped by recent revelations.

“ProPublica uncovered the details of Thomas’ travel by drawing from flight records, internal documents distributed to Crow’s employees and interviews with dozens of people ranging from his superyacht’s staff to members of the creative Bohemian Club to an Indonesian scuba diving instructor.” – ProPublica

Over a decade ago, The New York Times reported on Justice’s relationship with the longtime Republican donor, detailing a $500,000 donation to the wife of Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas’ Tea Party group.

Ginni Thomas’ role in Trump’s attempt to subvert democracy and steal the 2020 election is fully documented, not to mention her esteemed husband being the sole dissenter in favor of hearing a frivolous election suit by the former President.

News that the two were frequent guests of a well-known Republican financier isn’t the shock it would’ve been a decade ago.

Private planes, yachts, and exotic vacations were parring for the course for Justice Thomas at the whim of Crow.

Thomas denied the allegations in a statement on Friday, claiming that the “hospitality” he received from those in his inner circle didn’t constitute reporting.

“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.” – Justice Clarence Thomas

It’s especially not a shock after revelations by right-wing anti-abortion operative Robert Schenker, who testified before Congress of bribing SCOTUS judges for favorable political outcomes.

Top Congressional Democrats have called for the implementation of ethics rules for the high court.

“The ProPublica report is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who chairs the committee, said.

Chief Justice Roberts has talked about the court’s waning popularity and seeming impartiality but fails to mention – the call is coming from inside the house.

“We need answers,” state Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said. “The court needs a code of ethics.”

The American people’s faith in the Supreme Court is “tanking because of this kind of conduct,” Hollen added.

Original reporting by Josua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski at ProPublica.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.