Clarence Thomas received millions in travel & vacations from other GOP donors

In April, ProPublica released a shocking report on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. ProPublica had extensive documentation that Justice Thomas took millions in undisclosed gifts and travel from a top Republican donor named Harlan Crow. None of this is some tricky ethical quagmire – for years, Thomas has broken federal law in his failure to disclose to gifts AND by receiving the gifts. Well, funny story: it’s so much worse than that. ProPublica just published a new report, once again with extensive documentation, about Thomas also receiving millions in gifts, vacations and private-plane flights from other GOP-affiliated billionaires.

During his three decades on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas has enjoyed steady access to a lifestyle most Americans can only imagine. A cadre of industry titans and ultrawealthy executives have treated him to far-flung vacations aboard their yachts, ushered him into the premium suites at sporting events and sent their private jets to fetch him — including, on more than one occasion, an entire 737. It’s a stream of luxury that is both more extensive and from a wider circle than has been previously understood. Like clockwork, Thomas’ leisure activities have been underwritten by benefactors who share the ideology that drives his jurisprudence. Their gifts include:

At least 38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas; 26 private jet flights, plus an additional eight by helicopter; a dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox; two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast.

This accounting of Thomas’ travel, revealed for the first time here from an array of previously unavailable information, is the fullest to date of the generosity that has regularly afforded Thomas a lifestyle far beyond what his income could provide. And it is almost certainly an undercount. While some of the hospitality, such as stays in personal homes, may not have required disclosure, Thomas appears to have violated the law by failing to disclose flights, yacht cruises and expensive sports tickets, according to ethics experts.

Perhaps even more significant, the pattern exposes consistent violations of judicial norms, experts, including seven current and former federal judges appointed by both parties, told ProPublica. “In my career I don’t remember ever seeing this degree of largesse given to anybody,” said Jeremy Fogel, a former federal judge who served for years on the judicial committee that reviews judges’ financial disclosures. “I think it’s unprecedented.”

The New York Times recently surfaced VIP treatment from wealthy businessmen he met through the Horatio Alger Association, an exclusive nonprofit. Among them were David Sokol, a former top executive at Berkshire Hathaway, and H. Wayne Huizenga, a billionaire who turned Blockbuster and Waste Management into national goliaths. (The Times noted Thomas gives access to the Supreme Court building for Horatio Alger events; ProPublica confirmed that the access has cost $1,500 or more in donations per person.)

The total value of the undisclosed trips they’ve given Thomas since 1991, the year he was appointed to the Supreme Court, is difficult to measure. But it’s likely in the millions.

[From ProPublica]

You can read more at the ProPublica link – this kind of blatant criminality is shocking, and it’s shocking that no one reported it before now. Thomas has been on the Supreme Court since the early ‘90s! Three decades of five-star vacations, rides on private jets, shady real estate deals and on and on. Where were the reporters on the SCOTUS beat? The only thing I’ll say in Justice Thomas’s defense is that he’s such a morally bankrupt hack that he would have voted in these Republican donors’ favor anyway, without the gifts. It’s not so much a quid pro quo or an explicit bribe – these donors are simply rewarding him for always voting in a way that aligns with their interests.

Photos courtesy of Cover Images, Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

38 Responses to “Clarence Thomas received millions in travel & vacations from other GOP donors”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. HE HAS GOT TO GO!!!!!!!!! He and his wife are a detriment to our democracy!

  2. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I disagree. These are bribes and assurances he tow the line. Whether he is inclined to rule as stupidly as he has is not the issue—the fact that he was a kept man, kept rolling in wealth in return for these favorable rulings, cannot be understated or removed or isolated from his behavior and leanings on the bench. He must be impeached. Period. He (and his wife) has done more to sully the reputation of the SC than even Kavanaugh or Barrett. It’s time to put an end to this farce or there will be no reason to have any faith in the government ever again.

  3. SarahCS says:

    So what happens next? If there is widespread agreement that this is not allowed who needs to take action?

    • Jais says:

      Yeah, I couldn’t even read this article this morning bc it makes me too angry. The idea that this guy is just gonna keep on keeping on makes me sick. He should be in jail. With his wife. But apparently he’ll be in power as a Supreme Court Justice for life right? Having an optimistic outlook while also calling out injustice is WORK.

    • Olivia says:

      The legal framework is not there. It is all based on “moral standards” and “honour”. It is a joke given that the framework for SCOTUS was built when people did actually care for their reputation and their legacy.
      For what it is worth: I was surprised rewatching Murphy Brown and Clarence is mentioned a few times, and one of them is about a luxury cruise or some such. First few seasons as well when he was freshly appointed.
      People knew, people were scared to report on this mess after they saw what happened to Anita Hill and how ranks were closed.

  4. Carol Mengel says:

    Why is this POS still sitting on the Supreme Court? And Hunter Biden is being investigated???? Wtf? Please, somebody grow some balls and get rid of this toxic, smug douchebag.

    • olliesmo says:

      It’s going to take a women to bring it all down in the end. I’ve always said that it’s going to be a woman in the end that truly takes Trump down. No man has the guts to do it.

  5. girl_ninja says:

    This man is a criminal and so is his wife. He should be impeached and kicked off the court.

  6. Brassy Rebel says:

    That Cat Who Ate The Canary smirk up top says it all.

  7. Tree says:

    Someone did bring it up. Back in the 90s. Clarence Thomas is the scapegoat. He doesn’t get as much as the others. He gets “experience” gifts and ginny gets jobs that she works at. The other justices get actually cash!!! Their spouses, kids, and grandkids get no show jobs. Ruth beder gingsberg was always answering money questions. I think the worst offender now is the one who wife owns a LAWYER RECRUITMENT FIRM.

    They are using Thomas to gradually expose everyone else. I wondered why they didn’t prosecute ginny for her fraud tax returns. Seems that a few justices will have to retire.

    • NotTheOne says:

      This. All of this has been going on for a long time but there wasn’t the appetite for going after it. I do wonder if it’s because of his wife’s antics. Or because he’s black. Either way, other members (especially the men) have been doing this for a long time and have taken just as much.

    • Kitten says:

      Whatever it takes to clue people in on the corruption. We should all be outraged.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    Uncle Clarence accepting these gifts and trips is unethical as it can be seen as bribes or inducements to rule in favour of cases that these donors support. The only reason he’s not impeached is because the Democrats don’t have the votes.

    • Trillion says:

      Trust that if Clarence Thomas were a “liberal”, the Republicans would find a way to get rid of him tout de suite.

  9. olliesmom says:

    What makes me made is the fact that I work for a state government and every year we all have to take a mandated state ethics training. I could be fired, fined and possibly imprisoned if I don’t deal with a box of candy or tickets properly if I were to receive them as a gift from someone in my work capacity and this guy and his smug wife can do all of this without consequence. Our supreme court justices need to be held WAY more accountable and also they need to have term limits. This is getting ridiculous.

    Clarence Thomas should have NEVER been put on the bench. I believed Anita Hill then and I still believe her. He’s a creep in so many ways.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      @OLLIESMOM OMG, same! I worked in state level government (from envelop stuffing clerk to administrative law judge) and we had strict training and anti-bribe oversight. I had to turn over a $15 gift card that a customer sent to me as a thank you for helping them on a case (which was my job and certainly didn’t require a reward from anyone).

      I guess the old chestnut of “the more money you make the less of a crime it is” is true. Small business is shut down but big business is fined and allowed to continue. Low level government employees get fired or imprisoned for breaches but right wing SCOTUS justices get fussed at and told to be more discreet. A person carrying a small bag of weed is arrested. Official pot farms are raking in the money.

  10. BlueNailsBetty says:

    The whole “forever job” of the supreme court justices was supposed to make them incorruptible. They couldn’t be fired so they didn’t have to worry that their rulings would lead to unemployment.

    Obviously, they, especially right wingers, found loopholes and have been skipping around in the meadow of wildflower bribes for a long damn time. We desperately need to overhaul the term limits, ethics, and accountability of SCOTUS.

    Firstly, they should not be allowed to accept gifts. If I, as a lowly clerk for a government agency, had to turn over a $15 dollar gift card that a customer had sent to me as appreciation for helping them get their case straightened out and moving forward then SCOTUS should have to report and turn over all gifts. No one should be allowed to give gifts to any of the justices.

    Also, all attempts at random people trying to give a gift to or bribing a justice should be reported the the DOJ immediately. Obvi, family and friends can give normal gifts but if they go before the Court the justice should recuse themself from the case. All other gifts should be investigated to determine the intent and if the gift giver has a pattern of giving to justices or is related to Court cases.

    Secondly, when a justice is caught breaking the ethics, they should be removed from the court. No ifs, ands, or buts. I’m not talking about mistakes or flubs. I’m talking about blatantly breaking the ethics.

    Thirdly, term limits, term limits, term limits. Their term should end at 20 years. That’s the approx time for a generation and SCOTUS should reflect the changing times.

    Fourthly, they must be held accountable for their rule breaking. There should be an oversight committee who investigates alleged breaches of ethics and who mete out punishment based on those breaches.

    Potential justices who are recommended for confirmation to SCOTUS should have a rigorous standard of experience as well as an uncorrupted history of behavior (Kavanaugh would have been a non starter). They also should have to disclose their finances and explain how their money was earned and how their debts were paid.

    Potential justices who are recommended for confirmation to SCOTUS must adhere to the separation of Church and State. If they can’t adhere to the laws of the US Constitution then they don’t get to be considered for SCOTUS. (And yes, there are laws in the Constitution that should be overhauled but that is a separate topic.)

    And so, so, so much more.

  11. Lightpurple says:

    John Roberts needs to get his house in order, demand Thomas resign, and then resign himself. He has allowed this corruption to flourish.

  12. EllenOlenska says:

    There is a General counsel
    Office in the Supreme Court and a court administrator who should have been aware of, monitoring and correcting this. That is what they are there for.

  13. Nicole says:

    I encourage a listen to this season’s Slow Burn Podcast. The topic is Clarence Thomas. So enlightening. Not only is corrupt, he’s also mad sexist. (Tho not surprising.) The man is absolute trash.

  14. Grant says:

    WHY. IS. THIS. NOT. THE. TOP. NEWS. STORY. ON. EVERY. CHANNEL?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! In law school, we would listen to SCOTUS oral arguments in our constitutional law class. Back then we were taught that Clarence Thomas never asked questions (unlike practically EVERY other justice on the Court since its inception) because he was just oh-so smart. In reality, it’s because he’s been bought and paid for by right-wing lobbyists. Disgraceful!!!!

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah the media and Dems should NEVER stop talking about this. He thinks if he just ignores it it will go away and honestly, fair enough. That seems to be the GOP playbook and it often works so….

    • bisynaptic says:

      He never asked questions because he has contempt for the court and its mandate to uphold the Constitution.

      • EllenOlenska says:

        He never asked questions because he was waiting for Justice Scalia to tell him how to vote.

    • Liz says:

      So true, but I question why is lobbying allowed in washington when is clearly some type of legal bribery and anywhere else is consider criminal? Where is this Nation heading is scary. 🤔😡😵‍💫😱

  15. Alarmjaguar says:

    Truly disgusting! He has to go (we should have listened to Anita Hill!!)

    • Kitten says:

      She was eviscerated and dragged through the mud by an all-male, all-white panel with Biden presiding over it. I will never forgive him for his appalling conduct during that hearing and Hill was and remains an absolute hero to me.

    • olliesmom says:

      I believed her then and I still believe her.

  16. bisynaptic says:


  17. tamsin says:

    It seems that Justice Roberts is presiding over a corrupt, activist, and incompetent court. It is making people lose all faith in that institution. Did the founding fathers think that only honest and just men would be appointed? The constitution framers made a big mistake in making them life time appointments. Term limits might be a good start after they acquire a code of ethics. Why would a country who overthrew hereditary rule implement lifetime positions?