Influential Democrats and judicial advocates are demanding action after a ProPublica report published on Thursday outlined Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ undisclosed ties to GOP megadonor Harlan Crow.
Thomas “has accepted luxury trips virtually every year” from Crow for more than two decades without reporting them, ProPublica reported, citing travel records and interviews. Thomas’ failure to disclose the trips appears to violate a law requiring judges, members of Congress and other federal officials to report most gifts, including private jet flights, according to the article.
Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group, called on the Senate to not let “this extraordinary display of corruption and lawbreaking go unanswered.”
“Senate Democrats cannot force Thomas to resign or give him the impeachment trial he clearly deserves, but they can hold hearings to further expose Justice Thomas’ apparent lawbreaking and the Republican justices’ deep ties to far-right donors,” Fallon said.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for more oversight over the court, which lacks a binding ethics code.
“This cries out for the kind of independent investigation that the Supreme Court — and only the Supreme Court, across the entire government — refuses to perform,” Whitehouse said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Thomas should be impeached.
“This is beyond party or partisanship. This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish,” she wrote on Twitter.
Thomas has already been under fire over ethics issues. He failed to recuse himself in a case brought by President Donald Trump seeking to block the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection from obtaining access to White House documents and communications, even though his wife worked with Trump supporters to undo the 2020 election.
Thomas ignored ProPublica’s questions and has not responded to its report.
Crow told ProPublica he and his wife never discussed any cases with Thomas, and “never sought to influence Justice Thomas on any legal or political issue.”