Justice Clarence Thomas accepted private school tuition payments for his grandnephew from GOP donor Harlan Crow.
ProPublica interviewed Martin, his former classmates and former staff at both schools. The exact total Crow paid for Martin’s education over the years remains unclear. If he paid for all four years at the two schools, the price tag could have exceeded $150,000, according to public records of tuition rates at the schools.
Thomas did not report the tuition payments from Crow on his annual financial disclosures. Several years earlier, Thomas disclosed a gift of $5,000 for Martin’s education from another friend. It is not clear why he reported that payment but not Crow’s.
Thomas and his wife had taken custody of his grandnephew Mark Martin and had been raising him like a son.
Federal law requires Thomas to disclose gifts to spouses and dependents. Since Thomas had legal custody of Martin and was raising, the payments to cover the tuition should have been disclosed.
It is apparent that Clarence Thomas has been picking and choosing what he would include on his disclosure forms, which is a major reason why the Supreme Court needs ethics oversight.
If a liberal judge or justice was found to have been taking gifts such as tuition payments for their dependents, Republicans would try to run them out of office.
The corruption involving Justice Thomas is reaching mind-boggling levels. The conservative majority on the Supreme Court has a massive ethics problem. To date, no ethics issues have been revealed involving liberal justices on the court, but just because there are none that have been found yet does mean that the court doesn’t need ethics reform.
In an ideal world where good governance was a priority, Thomas would be asked to retire or impeached, but Republicans will never impeach him in the House, so Justice Thomas isn’t going anywhere.
The scandal surrounding Thomas is worsening, and the best hope for the country is that the pressure will finally get to Republicans and force them to support ethics reform for the Supreme Court.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association