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Washington, April 8 – US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under fire after the revelation that he has “secretly accepted luxury trips from a major Republican donor”.
ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism, reported that Harlan Crow, a Dallas, Texas-based real estate developer, had paid for Thomas to join multiple vacations for more than two decades, including travels on the billionaire’s private jet and superyacht, Xinhua news agency reported.
Thomas, a conservative justice who has served in the US Supreme Court since 1991, said on Friday that he “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,” Thomas responded in a statement to the ProPublica investigation.
Crow is the chairman of the Board of Crow Holdings, a private family business established to manage the capital of the Trammell Crow family, according to its website. He is reportedly also an influential donor to causes related to the law and judiciary.
Thomas said Crow and Crow’s wife were among his “dearest friends,” and acknowledged that he had joined them “on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them”.
US Supreme Court justices are generally required to publicly report all gifts worth more than $415, defined as “anything of value” that isn’t fully reimbursed, according to ProPublica.
US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat, tweeted on Thursday that the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, will take action on the report.
“The highest court in the land shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards,” Durbin said. “Time for an enforceable code of conduct for Justices.”