Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has responded to a news report about his failure to disclose trips paid for by a conservative billionaire, saying he “was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from a close personal friend, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”
“I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines,” he said in a statement.
ProPublica reported Thursday about the trips taken by Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist, that were paid for by Harlan Crow. Crow took the Thomases on vacations, including cruises and private flights, that could cost millions of dollars; Thomas did not report them as part of his annual financial disclosure, according to the report.
In the statement, Thomas described Crow and his wife, Kathy, as “dearest friends.”
The ProPublica report renewed calls from Democrats for a code of ethics at the high court.
In the statement, Thomas noted as the disclosure guidelines are now being changed, “it is … my intent to follow this guidance in the future.”
Here’s the statement in full:
Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them. 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. I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines. These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future.