ProPublica revealed that Texas real estate mogul Harlan Crow has repeatedly treated the Supreme Court justice to luxurious vacations and private jet flights, which put the justice “in contact with corporate execs and political activists,” according to the report.
Supreme Court justices are expected to file annual financial disclosure reports, which include gifts. In a statement, Thomas said that he and his wife Virginia have been friends with the Crows for over 25 years, claiming they have taken a number of family trips together during that time.
“Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable,” he said in the statement.
The statement continued: “I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines. These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future.”
Crow, in a statement to NewsNation partner The Hill, did not deny the allegations that Thomas had accepted such trips from him over the years, but he said the Supreme Court justice never asked for the gifts.
“The hospitality we have extended to the (Thomases) over the years is no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends,” Crow said in a statement. “Justice Thomas and Ginni never asked for any of this hospitality.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was one of the first to react to the report and called for Thomas’ impeachment.
“This is beyond party or partisanship,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. “This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not comment Thursday on ProPublica’s piece when asked during a press briefing.
Sean Noone and Bobby Oler contributed to this report.