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U.S. House members call for investigation of Justice Thomas’ finances

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and 19 House colleagues Thursday asked the Judicial Conference to refer U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Department of Justice for failure to fully disclose his finances as required by law.

Thomas omitted the earnings of his wife, Virginia Thomas, from his legally required disclosure forms six years in a row, according to the New York Times. Virginia Thomas drew a salary from the conservative Heritage Foundation of at least $686,000 during those years, according to research by Common Cause.

Clarence Thomas has said he misunderstood filing directions.

Democrats signed on to Thursday’s letter are skeptical of that excuse.

“Due to the simplicity of the disclosure requirements, along with Justice Thomas’s high level of legal training and experience, it is reasonable to infer that his failure to disclose his wife’s income for two decades was willful,” the letter explains.

The group also questioned Thomas’ use of a private yacht and airplane without disclosure.

“Particularly as questions surrounding the integrity and fairness of the Supreme Court continue to grow, it is vital that the Judicial Conference actively pursue any suspicious actions by Supreme Court Justices,” the letter read. “While we continue to advocate for the creation of binding ethical standards for the Supreme Court, it is important the Judicial Conference exercise its current powers to ensure that Supreme Court Justices are held accountable to the current law.”

The signatories asked the Judicial Conference—which is led by the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice and made up of the chief judge of each circuit and a district judge from each regional circuit—to refer the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice for civil or criminal action.

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