“Should Resign Rather Than Disgrace the Court”: Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas Faces Ethics Probe Over Unreported Loan Forgiveness

Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas has caused even more controversy after an investigation found more unreported favors. Here’s the full story.

 A Question of Ethics

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A recent investigation by the Senate Finance Committee has shed light on an alleged financial arrangement involving Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, raising questions about his compliance with tax and ethics regulations. 

A Debt Still Owed

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The committee, led by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, unveiled their findings, indicating that Justice Thomas had never fully repaid a loan of $267,230, which he used to purchase a luxury RV over two decades ago.

The loan was reportedly covered by a wealthy friend, and Thomas failed to report it on his tax returns or financial disclosure statements. 

Loan Forgiveness

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Senator Wyden expressed concerns about the undisclosed loan forgiveness, stating, “Today, the committee has the answer to one of the pressing questions raised by reporting about his arrangement with Justice Thomas – was the loan ever repaid?

Now we know that Justice Thomas had up to $267,230 in debt forgiven and never reported it on his ethics forms.” 

More Information Needed

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Wyden called on Justice Thomas to provide more information about this transaction and urged him to clarify the amount of debt forgiven and whether he properly reported it on his tax returns. 

Luxury Gifts and Travel

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The initial reports of this financial arrangement came to light in August through a New York Times article, and since then, Justice Thomas has been facing increased scrutiny from Congress, particularly in the wake of a broader scandal involving luxury travel and gifts that have been extended to him over a period of two decades. 

Fancy Camping

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According to the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation, Justice Thomas secured the loan from Anthony Welters, a prominent U.S. executive and philanthropist.

This loan was used to purchase a deluxe Prevost Marathon motor coach in late 1999. 

Supreme Court Stationary

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To support their findings, the committee highlighted a key piece of evidence, a handwritten promissory note dated December 6, 1999, authored by Justice Thomas himself on Supreme Court stationery. 

Terms of Agreement

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This note outlined the terms of the purchase agreement between Welters, Justice Thomas, and his wife, Virginia Thomas.

As part of the agreement, Justice Thomas agreed to pay 7.5% interest on the loan and granted Welters a security interest in the motorhome. 

Check Cleared

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In December 2000, Justice Thomas wrote a check for $20,042.23, covering his share of the interest, effectively leaving the debt behind. 

Forget About It

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The investigation reveals that nearly eight years later, in November 2008, Welters communicated in writing to Justice Thomas that he would no longer seek further payments on the loan.

It was also noted that the only payments made by Justice Thomas were for the interest on the loan, with no additional documents indicating any payments toward the principal. 

Taxable Income

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Generally, the IRS treats loan forgiveness as taxable income.

The Senate’s inquiry into this matter is part of a broader push for stricter ethics regulations, especially in the wake of a report by ProPublica earlier this year. 

Beware Republicans Bearing Gifts

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The ProPublica report unveiled that Justice Thomas had enjoyed decades of luxury travel, often funded by prominent Republican donors, including individuals like David Sokol, H. Wayne Huizenga, Paul “Tony” Novelly, and Harlan Crow. 

Lots of Gifts

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The investigation by ProPublica exposed that Justice Thomas had accepted at least 38 unreported lavish vacations financed by wealthy benefactors.

Furthermore, he failed to disclose various gifts, including flights, yacht cruises, and expensive sports tickets, over a span of 20 years. 

Not Required to Report

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In response to these allegations, Justice Thomas argued that the existing ethics rules did not require him to report the gifts he had received.

This included a substantial payout from a real estate sale and private school tuition for his grandnephew, both of which he had not disclosed on his financial disclosure forms. 

Yacht and Flight Trips

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Senator Wyden had previously sought records from Harlan Crow pertaining to flight and yacht trips that Justice Thomas had taken, along with other alleged gifts. 

A Fish for a Ruling

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Additionally, in June, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito addressed a ProPublica report that accused him of participating in a luxury Alaskan fishing excursion 15 years ago with a billionaire Republican donor whose hedge fund was involved in several high court rulings.

Alito denied any wrongdoing in this matter. 

How to Respond

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As the inquiry continues, it remains to be seen how Justice Thomas and the broader judicial community will respond to these revelations.

“Resign”

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Online the news was met with an outcry, with one user posting “His poor judgement, lack of integrity and transparency is glaring and deeply concerning. 

We must not tolerate this kind of shameful behavior from a Supreme Court Justice. Thomas should resign rather than disgrace the court.”

More Questions

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Another user was left with more questions, stating  “The big question is how did Thomas rule in the case of the wealthy friend who bought him the RV.”

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The post “Should Resign Rather Than Disgrace the Court”: Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas Faces Ethics Probe Over Unreported Loan Forgiveness first appeared on Mama Say What?!.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rob Crandall. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

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Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.