Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has repeatedly claimed rental income from a real estate firm that has been out of business since the early 2000s, according to The Washington Post.
Thomas for the past two decades reported income that his family received from a firm called Ginger, Ltd., Partnership — a Nebraska real estate firm started by his wife, Ginni, and her family in 1982 — amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Washington Post reported that the company shuttered in 2006, and was ultimately rolled into a new, separate firm called Ginger Holdings, LLC. However, since then, Thomas has allegedly continued to claim income — reported as “rent” — from Ginger, Ltd., Partnership, with recent years seeing him report between $50,000 and $100,000 annually, per financial disclosure reports. In sum, he has reported receiving between $270,000 to $750,000 from the firm since 2006.
The report comes on the heels of a bombshell ProPublica report released last month, detailing how the conservative justice and his wife have for over two decades accepted luxury trips and other gifts from GOP megadonor and real estate magnate Harlan Crow.
The report stated that the costs incurred through the travel may be in violation of federal law, as the trips “appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures.” According to two ethics law experts who weighed in on the report, his failure to report the flights “appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts.”
Following the report’s release, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., vowed that Thomas would be held accountable.
“The highest court in the land shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards. Today’s Pro Publica report reveals that Justice Thomas has for years accepted luxury travel on private yachts and jets and a litany of other gifts that he failed to disclose,” Durbin said in a statement at the time. “This behavior is simply inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any public servant, let alone a Justice on the Supreme Court.”
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Durbin said the report “demonstrates, yet again, that Supreme Court Justices must be held to an enforceable code of conduct, just like every other federal judge. The Pro Publica report is a call to action, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”
Thomas has ostensibly feigned ignorance in the past. After revising his financial disclosure forms in 2011 following scrutiny from watchdog group, Common Cause, Thomas stated that he did not understand the filing instructions, according to the Post. In 2020, Thomas once again amended his disclosure forms when another watchdog organization determined that he had not reported reimbursements for travel to speak at two law schools.
“Any presumption in favor of Thomas’s integrity and commitment to comply with the law is gone,” Stephen Gillers, a legal expert at New York University told the Post. “His assurances and promises cannot be trusted. Is there more? What’s the whole story? The nation needs to know.”
Gillers, who called for Thomas to face a federal investigation, added that trust in the Supreme Court is “now in serious jeopardy, and others must do something to stop the free fall.”
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