Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
- Former GOP House members are slamming Justice Clarence Thomas over his cozy relationship with a billionaire.
- ProPublica reported that Thomas has secretly gone on lavish vacations at the expense of megadonor Harlan Crow.
- One of Thomas’ fellow conservatives says he “should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision.”
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is being slammed from across the political aisle for reportedly taking lavish vacations paid for by a GOP megadonor — with one former Republican House member saying Thomas “should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision.”
Thomas, who joined the Supreme Court in 1991, has been secretly taking extravagant trips on private jets and superyachts for decades — all at the expense of billionaire real estate magnate Harlan Crow, according to a bombshell report from ProPublica released Thursday.
Current Democratic lawmakers condemned Thomas.
“This is beyond party or partisanship,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted. “This degree of corruption is shocking – almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached.”
Rep. Ted Lieu of California, another Democrat, wrote on Twitter, “Why did Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas keep these ultra luxury gifts from a GOP donor secret? Because Justice Thomas knew it was wrong to accept these secret gifts.”
But the report has even drawn the ire of Thomas’ fellow conservatives.
Former GOP Virginia House member Denver Riggleman reacted to ProPublica’s report on Twitter, saying “Our country is poisoned from within. Ethics be damned.”
“Clarence Thomas should not be allowed anywhere near a judicial decision,” Riggleman — who was a staffer on the House’s January 6 committee — wrote. “From [January 6] to yachts, we have to fight the rot.”
Another former Republican House member Adam Kinzinger tweeted “Regardless of your politics, this cannot be acceptable.”
Still, current Republican lawmakers — including House and Senate leadership — have stayed quiet.
The donor, Harlan Crow, told ProPublica that he is “unaware of any of our friends ever lobbying or seeking to influence Justice Thomas on any case, and I would never invite anyone who I believe had any intention of doing that.”
Ethics experts told ProPublica that Thomas may have broken the law by not reporting such trips on his annual financial records, although some “personal hospitality” expenses like lodging and entertainment do not need to be disclosed.