Senate Panel Finds More Trips That Thomas Didn't Disclose

Harlan Crow financed the flights on private jets
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2024 7:00 PM CDT
Senate Panel Finds More Trips That Thomas Didn't Disclose
Members of the Supreme Court sit for a group portrait following the addition of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Oct. 7, 2022. Bottom row, from left, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took three trips on private jets bankrolled by Harlan Crow that were not disclosed, according to information released Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The information was contained in documents the billionaire Republican donor had turned over to the committee under subpoena over seven years, the Hill reports. Chairman Dick Durbin, a Democrat, said the committee is still investigating. The latest finding, he said, "makes it crystal clear that the highest court needs an enforceable code of conduct, because its members continue to choose not to meet the moment."

Elliot Berke, an attorney for Thomas, said the three trips came under the "hospitality exemption," meaning disclosure wasn't required. The exemption applies as long as the hospitality is extended by "friends who did not have business before the court," Berke told CNN. The free travel, all on private jets, per the Washington Post:

  • St. Louis to Kalispell, Montana, and a return flight to Dallas in May 2017.
  • Washington, DC, to Savannah, Georgia, and back in March 2019.
  • Washington, DC, to San Jose and back in June 2021.
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill to require Supreme Court justices to adopt a binding code of conduct, per NBC News. (More Clarence Thomas stories.)

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