Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Progressive groups like Common Cause have been calling for a conflict of interest investigation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for months now.
Back in January, Common Cause linked Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia to the infamous Koch brothers.
From the Tucson Progressive…
The watchdog group Common Cause is now raising the question of conflict of interest in this case [Citizens United]. Two of the court’s most conservative justices– Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who voted in favor of Citizens United– have been linked to Charles and David Koch, conservative billionaires who push right-wing causes with their contributions and benefited from the Citizens United ruling.
At issue is the justices attendance at soirees hosted by the Kochs. Common Cause has asked the Justice Department to investigate the connection and has asked for a re-trial if conflict of interest is found.
Today, the Huffington Post reported that a group of 20 Democratic lawmakers are calling for an ethics investigation of Thomas for 20 YEARS of not reporting gifts and other income on his financial disclosure forms. From the Huffington Post…
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 Crowe 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.
Finally, someone has the backbone to investigate this guy. He never should have been confirmed in the first place. Special thanks to CD7 Representative Raul Grijalva for being one of the 20 signers on this letter.