Clarence Thomas Took Dozens of Lavish Billionaire Trips: Report – Rolling Stone

Clarence Thomas

It’s been a rough year for anyone who may have believed Clarence Thomas was a paragon of ethics on the Supreme Court. ProPublica has reported extensively on how conservative megadonor Harlan Crow has been funding the justice’s lavish lifestyle for decades, heightening concerns over outside influence on the work of the nation’s highest court. ProPublica dropped another bombshell on Thursday, revealing that Thomas has been accepting a slew of gifts from other billionaires, as well.

Thomas has reportedly taken at least 38 luxury vacations funded by conservative benefactors since the 1990s, reports, including 26 private jet flights and eight helicopter flights, VIP tickets to sporting events, and a yacht trip around the Bahamas. ProPublica notes that the tallies are “most certainly an undercount.”

These trips were provided only in part by Crow. Thomas has also received gifts from oil tycoon Paul “Tony” Novelly and, as The New York Times previously reported, H. Wayne Huizenga, the former owner of the Miami Dolphins, and investor David Sokol. Thomas never mentioned Novelly, Huizenga, or Sokol on his financial disclosure forms, and all of them first met Thomas after he became a Supreme Court justice.

ProPublica first reported on Thomas’ relationship with Crow in April, noting that “virtually every year,” he has accepted rides on private jets, stays at private resorts, and invitations to hang out on superyachts owned by the real-estate mogul. The outlet later revealed that Crow also bought $133,000 worth of property from Thomas, allowing his mother to live there, and that he paid private school tuition for a child Thomas was raising. Thomas has denied any wrongdoing, claiming he and Crow are simply friends and that he doesn’t need to report “this sort of personal hospitality.”


Experts … do not agree. “In my career I don’t remember ever seeing this degree of largesse given to anybody,” Jeremy Fogel, a former federal judge who served on the committee that reviews judges’ financial disclosures, told ProPublica. “I think it’s unprecedented.”

Thomas did not respond to a list of questions from ProPublica regarding its new report, but it’s unlikely he’s suddenly realized the error of his ways.

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