Clarence Thomas Accused of Accepting Gifts in Possibly Illegal Act

Clarence Thomas Accused of Accepting Gifts in Possibly Illegal Act

( – A Supreme Court justice is facing possible disgrace after allegations he’s been illegally accepting gifts for decades. Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, has been a strong defender of the Constitution for over three decades. Now a bombshell report could end his career.

On April 6, investigative journalism site ProPublica released a report alleging Thomas has been receiving gifts from Harlan Crow, a Dallas-based real estate billionaire and major Republican donor. According to the report, Thomas has regularly been invited to cruises on Crow’s luxury yacht and trips on his private jet. Crow has also given Thomas items that include a Bible that once belonged to abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, valued at $19,000, and a portrait of the judge and his wife. The key point is Thomas didn’t declare any of these gifts in his financial disclosures.

Legal and ethics experts quickly piled on to condemn Thomas. Former federal judge Nancy Gertner said it was “incomprehensible” that a judge would accept undeclared gifts of this value. Former ethics lawyer Virginia Canter accused Thomas of having ignored his “higher ethical obligations” and said the scandal “corrodes public trust.” Experts say Thomas has violated post-Watergate ethics laws aimed at preventing corruption.

Not everyone was so quick to condemn Thomas, though. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that Crow did invite him on vacations and give him gifts, and there’s no doubt at all Thomas didn’t declare them. However, conservative activist Greg Price defended the justice on Twitter.

He pointed out that while there are strict laws that cover gifts to public officials, the reporting guidelines explicitly say gifts made by friends — and Crow says he and Thomas are “very dear friends” — can be accepted. Does it also have to be reported? That could come down to an individual reading of the law, so Thomas’s long career might not be over yet.

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