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Clarence Thomas non-disclosure of income, an ethics violation
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Clarence Thomas violated court ethics on a grand scale.  The Congressional investigation went nowhere.  He is one of the good boys.  Below are the letters concerning this matter.  The road ends in the fall of 2011.  The least qualified judge in the last 60 years (received the lowest rating by ABA among those nominated by the President, in his case bush senior); Clarence has violated bluntly and repeatedly in two ways the financial disclosure law in his yearly fillings.  Will Congress and the Justice Department sleep on this one?

Clarence Thomas Should Be Investigated For Nondisclosure, Democratic Lawmakers Say

Jennifer Bendery, 9/30/11

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/29/democratic-lawmakers-call-for-investiation-into-clarence-thomas-finances_n_987934.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=093011&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

WASHINGTON -- Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States -- the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts -- requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas' non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it "absurd" to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

"It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income," Slaughter said in a statement. "To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible."

The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crow and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.

Current law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General any judge the conference "has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported."

Slaughter's press statement also notes that the Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue the Supreme Court is expected to rule on by next summer.

"The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today," Slaughter said. "I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other members of Congress, as suspicious."  Nineteen members of Congress signed her letter.

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http://www.louise.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2559:slaughter-19-colleagues-call-for-investigation-into-justice-thomass-non-disclosure&catid=95:2011-press-releases&Itemid=55

Slaughter, 19 Colleagues, Call for Investigation into Justice Thomas’s Non-Disclosure

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Slaughter, 19 Colleagues, Call for Investigation into Justice Thomas's Non-Disclosure

Under Law, Judicial Conference Must Refer Issue to US Attorney General

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, together with 19 Members of Congress, today sent a letter to the Judicial Conference, requesting that the Conference follow the law and refer the matter of Justice Clarence Thomas's non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice. Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas has checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone.

Slaughter said, "To believe that Justice Thomas didn't know how to fill out a basic disclosure form is absurd. It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income. To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas's explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible."

Section 104(b) of the Ethics in Government Act requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General of the United States any judge who the Conference "has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported."

If the Judicial Conference finds reasonable cause to believe that Justice Thomas has "willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information to be reported," it must, pursuant to 104, refer the case to the Attorney General for further determination of possible criminal or civil legal sanctions.

Throughout his entire tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income, despite the fact that his wife had in fact earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003-2007 alone. The Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue that is expected to be considered by the Supreme Court in the near future.

Slaughter said, "The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today. I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other Members of Congress, as suspicious."

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Slaughter Leads Letter From 52 Members of Congress Requesting Further Action Regarding Justice Thomas

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New Details Emerge; Also Delivers Petition From 130,000 Americans to US Judicial Conference

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee today sent a follow-up letter to the US Judicial Conference requesting that the matter of Justice Clarence Thomas's failure to disclose required financial information be referred to the US Attorney General.

The letter, signed by 52 Members of Congress, was drafted after new details emerged showing Justice Thomas correctly disclosed his wife's income for at least 7 years before failing to disclose the same information between 1997-2007. Other records, filed by Mrs. Thomas' employers, indicate she was paid at least $1.6 million (previously known to be approximately $700,000) during the years her husband reported she had no income. Willful failure to disclose required information would be a violation of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Said Slaughter, "The new details that have emerged show that Justice Thomas had a firm understanding of the steps necessary to properly disclose all information required by federal law. Knowing this, his failure to properly disclose financial information between 1997 and 2007 is even more curious. It is high time that the appropriate authorities fully investigate this issue to determine if his failure to disclose this information was willful."

In addition, Rep. Slaughter delivered a petition that had been circulated by CREDO Action, calling for similar action. The petition was signed by 131,386 Americans, and called on the Judicial Conference to refer the issue of Justice Thomas's non-disclosure to the US Attorney General for further action.

Of the petition, Slaughter said "CREDO Action members have played a huge role in our efforts to hold Justice Thomas accountable. This petition is proof that the American people care deeply about the integrity of their courts. Regardless of one's title, no one should be above the law."

Between 1997 and 2007 Justice Thomas checked the box "none" for spousal income on his annual financial disclosure forms, despite the fact that Virginia Thomas earned income from several organizations during this time period, including the Heritage Foundation. When the inaccurate disclosures were made public, the Justice amended his forms and stated that he had misunderstood the reporting requirement.

Newly found copies of old disclosure forms indicate that Justice Thomas had properly completed his disclosure forms for at least 7 years before he began checking "NONE" on the section seeking details about his wife's employment. Those copies also indicate that Justice Thomas failed to make proper disclosures for a total of 13 years (previously known to be at least 5). Other records, filed by Mrs. Thomas' employers, indicate she was paid at least $1.6 million (previously known to be approximately $700,000) during the years her husband reported she had no income.

The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires the Judicial Conference, an administrative agency for the federal courts, to refer to the Attorney General any judge or justice whom it has "reasonable cause" to believe willfully failed to make required disclosures.

Slaughter has previously worked to bring clarity to the questions surrounding Justice Thomas's failure to properly disclose financial information.

On September 29th, Slaughter led a letter of 20 Members of Congress asking the Judicial Conference to take action regarding Justice Thomas's apparent violations of the Ethics in Government Act. On October 14th the Judicial Conference replied to report that this letter was referred to Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure.

With today's letter, Slaughter continues her efforts to seek appropriate answers to the outstanding questions regarding Justice Thomas's financial disclosure.

View the petition from CREDO Action here.

 

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