Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reported receiving rent payments annually from a family business that closed in 2006. According to The Washington Post, Justice Thomas reported in disclosure forms that he earned between $50,000 and $100,000 every year from the Nebraska real estate firm, Ginger Ltd Partnership.
Ginger Ltd Partnership was owned by the parents of Thomas’s wife, Virginia Ginnie Thomas, and all its assets were transferred to a new company called Ginger Holdings LLC when the first company shut down. The second company is still controlled by Virginia Thomas and her relatives and Thomas had been receiving money annually from the new company without reporting the payments in his financial disclosure forms.
Public officials become more interested in Thomas’ private finances after a ProPublica report alleged that he was funded on luxury tours by Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. The report revealed that Crow sent Thomas on lavish vacations and even bought a Georgia home from the federal lawmaker.
All these were not reported in disclosure forms – and when it was brought to his notice, Thomas said he misunderstood the instructions for reporting funded vacations – but he said nothing about the old mansion. Legal and financial experts said the justice has been violating the financial disclosure law for more than 20 years contrary to what was expected of him.
Thomas also allegedly failed to report the employment details of his wife and the amount she earned from her job and family businesses. He only updated the forms when it was brought to his attention after disclosing that he didn’t know he had to do that. Legal experts said the integrity people had in the lawmaker is getting eroded given he occupies the highest bench on the nation’s judiciary.
“Any presumption in favor of Thomas’s integrity and commitment to comply with the law is gone. His assurances and promises cannot be trusted,” said Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University. “Is there more? What’s the whole story? The nation needs to know.”
The Post reported that Thomas’ salary this year as a justice is $285,000 and he reported earning $270,000 and $750,000 from Ginger Ltd Partnership since 2006. Given the cycle of improper financial reporting, authorities said the judge ought to withdraw from cases that involve his wife’s political work in conservative circles.
The Senate Judiciary Committee said they might open an investigation into Thomas’ practices to determine how it aligns with the ethical standards of justices of the Supreme Court.