Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas admits making three trips last year on a private plane owned by Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow.
This is the first time in years that Thomas has reported receiving Crow hospitality. In a report released Thursday, the 75-year-old judge said he was complying with the federal judiciary’s new travel reporting guidelines.
The filing of the case comes amid heightened attention to ethics at the High Court, which stems from a series of reports revealing that Thomas has for years received undisclosed expensive gifts, including international travel , from Crow, a wealthy businessman and benefactor of conservative causes. Crow also purchased the home in Georgia where Thomas’ mother continues to live and paid for two years of private school tuition for a child raised by Thomas and his wife, Ginni.
The Associated Press reported in July that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, aided by her team, has boosted sales of her books through university visits over the past decade.
One trip Thomas reported was to Crow’s Lodge in the Adironack Mountains in upstate New York, where investigative news site ProPublica reported Thomas visited annually.
The other two trips were to Dallas, where he spoke at conferences sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
Thomas noted that court officials had recommended that he avoid commercial travel for one of the trips, in mid-May, due to concerns about the judges’ safety following the leak of the court’s draft notice. on the abortion that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The judge also belatedly acknowledged that Crow purchased the home in Savannah, Georgia, where Thomas’ mother still lives. Thomas and other family members owned the house, as well as two neighboring properties. The sale was finalized in 2014, but Thomas said he mistakenly thought he didn’t have to report it because “this sale resulted in a capital loss”.
It is considering amending earlier reports to include more private jet travel, he noted.
The annual financial reports of Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito were released Thursday, nearly three months after those of the other seven justices. Thomas and Alito got a 90-day extension.