Congress Requesting Further Action Regarding Justice Thomas
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee today sent a follow-up letter to the US Judicial Conference requesting that the matter of Justice Clarence Thomas’s failure to disclose required financial information be referred to the US Attorney General.
The letter, signed by 52 Members of Congress, was drafted after new details emerged showing Justice Thomas correctly disclosed his wife’s income for at least 7 years before failing to disclose the same information between 1997-2007. Other records, filed by Mrs. Thomas’ employers, indicate she was paid at least $1.6 million (previously known to be approximately $700,000) during the years her husband reported she had no income. Willful failure to disclose required information would be a violation of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
Said Slaughter, “The new details that have emerged show that Justice Thomas had a firm understanding of the steps necessary to properly disclose all information required by federal law. Knowing this, his failure to properly disclose financial information between 1997 and 2007 is even more curious. It is high time that the appropriate authorities fully investigate this issue to determine if his failure to disclose this information was willful.”
In addition, Rep. Slaughter delivered a petition that had been circulated by CREDO Action, calling for similar action. The petition was signed by 131,386 Americans, and called on the Judicial Conference to refer the issue of Justice Thomas’s non-disclosure to the US Attorney General for further action.
Of the petition, Slaughter said “CREDO Action members have played a huge role in our efforts to hold Justice Thomas accountable. This petition is proof that the American people care deeply about the integrity of their courts. Regardless of one’s title, no one should be above the law.”
Between 1997 and 2007 Justice Thomas checked the box “none” for spousal income on his annual financial disclosure forms, despite the fact that Virginia Thomas earned income from several organizations during this time period, including the Heritage Foundation. When the inaccurate disclosures were made public, the Justice amended his forms and stated that he had misunderstood the reporting requirement.
Newly found copies of old disclosure forms indicate that Justice Thomas had properly completed his disclosure forms for at least 7 years before he began checking “NONE” on the section seeking details about his wife’s employment. Those copies also indicate that Justice Thomas failed to make proper disclosures for a total of 13 years (previously known to be at least 5). Other records, filed by Mrs. Thomas’ employers, indicate she was paid at least $1.6 million (previously known to be approximately $700,000) during the years her husband reported she had no income.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires the Judicial Conference, an administrative agency for the federal courts, to refer to the Attorney General any judge or justice whom it has “reasonable cause” to believe willfully failed to make required disclosures.
Slaughter has previously worked to bring clarity to the questions surrounding Justice Thomas’s failure to properly disclose financial information.
On September 29th, Slaughter led a letter of 20 Members of Congress asking the Judicial Conference to take action regarding Justice Thomas’s apparent violations of the Ethics in Government Act. On October 14th the Judicial Conference replied to report that this letter was referred to Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure.
With today’s letter, Slaughter continues her efforts to seek appropriate answers to the outstanding questions regarding Justice Thomas’s financial disclosure.
- View the petition from CREDO Action here.
- View the September 29th letter from 20 Members of Congress to the Judicial Conference here.
- View the October 14th response from the Judicial Conference here.
- View the letter from Slaughter and 51 Members of Congress below. For a full list of signers, click here.