Clarence Thomas slammed from across political spectrum, as former House GOP member says he 'should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision'
Justice Clarence Thomas is facing criticism over his relationship with a GOP megadonor.
ProPublica reported Thomas has taken lavish vacations paid for by GOP donor Harlan Crow.
A former House Republican said Thomas "should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision."
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Thursday faced criticism from both sides of the political aisle for reportedly taking lavish vacations paid for by a GOP megadonor — with one former House Republican saying Thomas "should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision."
Thomas, who's served on the nation's high court for more than 30 years, has been accepting luxury trips from real estate magnate and Republican donor Harlan Crow for more than two decades without disclosing them, according to a bombshell ProPublica report published Thursday.
The report revealed that Thomas has regularly taken summer vacations at Crow's private lakeside resort in New York's Adirondacks and trips on his private jet and superyacht. A June 2019 Indonesia vacation that Thomas and his wife, Ginni, went on with Crow could have cost more than an estimated $500,000 if Thomas had chartered the yacht and plane himself, according to the report.
Ethics experts told ProPublica that Thomas may have broken the law by not reporting such trips on his annual financial records, although some "personal hospitality" expenses like lodging and entertainment do not need to be disclosed.
Crow, in a statement to ProPublica, said he has been friends with Thomas and his wife since 1996 and said: "The hospitality we have extended to the Thomas's over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends."
A slew of current congressional Democrats ripped into the revelations on Thursday and renewed calls for investigations into the Supreme Court and greater financial transparency and accountability in the federal judiciary. Democrats have long griped that the court should adopt an enforceable code of conduct and be subject to stricter financial reporting requirements.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the no. 2 Democrat and chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, called Thomas' behavior "simply inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any public servant."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who's previously called for Thomas' resignation over ethics concerns, said he should be impeached. "This degree of corruption is shocking - almost cartoonish," she tweeted.
Rep. Ted Lieu of California, another Democrat, wrote on Twitter, "Why did Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas keep these ultra luxury gifts from a GOP donor secret? Because Justice Thomas knew it was wrong to accept these secret gifts."
But the report about Thomas has also drawn the ire of conservatives.
Former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia reacted to the report by tweeting: "Our country is poisoned from within. Ethics be damned."
"Clarence Thomas should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision," said Riggleman, who was a staffer on the now-defunct House select committee investigating January 6. "From [January 6] to yachts, we have to fight the rot."
Another former House Republican member Adam Kinzinger tweeted: "Regardless of your politics, this cannot be acceptable."
So far, current Republican lawmakers — including House and Senate leadership — have stayed quiet on the matter.
Thomas has been under increased scrutiny after reports revealed that his wife, a longtime conservative activist, sought to challenge the 2020 election results. Some congressional Democrats at the time called for his resignation, impeachment, and recusal from Supreme Court cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6 riot. Several Republican officials had come to his defense amid the attacks.
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