: Justice Clarence Thomas controversy explained: what he’s accused of doing, and why it raises ethical concerns

by | Apr 8, 2023 | Stock Market

A bombshell report this week alleged that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been accepting lavish gifts from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow for decades without disclosing them, such as trips on Crow’s superyacht and private plane. Some Americans are wondering whether Thomas, 74, could lose his spot on the Supreme Court over not disclosing these gifts. Google searches along the lines of “Could Clarence Thomas be impeached?” have spiked on Google in the days since the allegations were first reported.

Read more: Watchdog groups call for Justice Clarence Thomas to address reported failure to disclose gifts from real-estate tycoon Here is what you need to know about the allegations against Thomas and what could come next. What are the allegations? Thomas has reportedly been accepting lavish gifts from Crow for decades without disclosing them, according to a report Wednesday from ProPublica. This includes vacationing on Crow’s 162-foot superyacht, using Crow’s private plane and spending time at luxury retreats owned by the wealthy developer. Thomas is the longest-serving Supreme Court justice, and one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Has Thomas responded to these allegations? Thomas released a statement on Friday afternoon saying that he was advised that he didn’t need to disclose these gifts. “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,” Thomas said. Thomas also said that Crow and his wife are “dearest friends” of his, and that he and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, have joined them on many family trips for several years now. Read more: Clarence Thomas says he was advised he didn’t need to disclose GOP donor’s gifts but will change his approach on disclosures Crow also released a statement, saying, “The hospitality we have extended to the Thomas’s [sic] over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends.” Crow added that Thomas and his wife “never asked” for any of the gifts or trips. And he also called the pair “very dear friends.”Is it illegal for Thomas to receive gifts? Generally speaking, Supreme Court justices are required to disclose any perks that they receive if they are valued at more than $415 and they aren’t reimbursed, according to public filings for judicial officers and employees. Those perks may include travel, food or lodging. But s …

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