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  /  News   /  Clarence Thomas files doc acknowledging Republican donor’s trips

Clarence Thomas files doc acknowledging Republican donor’s trips

(NewsNation) —Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas filed an amendment to his financial disclosures Friday acknowledging for the first time that he accepted luxury travel to Indonesia and an all-male California retreat in 2019 from Republican billionaire Harlan Crow.

In the new filing, Thomas wrote that that he “inadvertently omitted” the trips on his previous reports, reported ProPublica

ProPublica had initially reported the trips taken by Thomas, but he had pushed back at the time saying he did not need to disclose such gifts, the outlet reported.

“Justice Thomas’s critics allege that he failed to report gifts from wealthy friends,” his lawyer previously said in a statement issued on the justice’s behalf. “Untrue.”

Financial disclosures remain one of the few forms of publicly available accountability for Supreme Court Justices. 

Last year, ProPublica revealed that Crow has repeatedly treated the Supreme Court justice to luxurious vacations and private jet flights, which put the justice “in contact with corporate execs and political activists,” according to the report.

But Thomas left the lavish vacation out his annual financial disclosure report. Supreme Court justices are expected to file annual financial disclosure reports, which include gifts.

In the newly-released filing, Thomas declares that Crow and his wife Kathy provided food and one day of hotel lodging in Indonesia in July 2019.

Less than a week later, Crow paid for a four day stay at a private club in Monte Rio, California, which is home to the Bohemian Grove, an all-male retreat, from July 18-21st.

After Pro Publica reported the undisclosed trips, Thomas said that he and his wife Virginia have been friends with the Crows for over 25 years, claiming they have taken a number of family trips together during that time, in a statement.

“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,” he said in the statement.

Crow and his wife also defended the trips saying they were nothing more than “hospitality.”

In the wake of the revelation, several democratic lawmakers called for Thomas to step down.

Democratic Illinois Senator Richard Durbin say he’s exploring what action Congress can take to investigate and possibly update ethics laws for federal judges.

“Clarence Thomas’ conduct is absolutely unacceptable from an ethical basis,” Sen. Durbin said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell defended Thomas and echoed that the trips were hospitality by friends.

“The Supreme Court and the court system is a whole separate part of our Constitution, and the Democrats, it seems to me, spend a lot of time criticizing individual members of the court and going after the court as an institution,” he said.

The incident sparked an inquiry by the Senate Judiciary Committee which sought to review ethics rules for Supreme Court justices.