A friend of Clarence Thomas says there is well-documented evidence that the Supreme Court judge did not breach the rules of judicial ethics by not disclosing vacation trips with his friend Harlan Crow, a businessman billionaire businessman and GOP donor.
A ProPublica investigation published in April found that Thomas’ close friendship with property developer Crow allowed him to accompany the Texas billionaire on luxury vacations on his private jet and yacht, as well as free stays at the sprawling property. Crow’s holiday home, among other benefits.
Mark Paoletta, who has vigorously defended Thomas in the weeks since his scrutiny by Senate Democrats who say he broke court ethics laws for the trips, said in a series of tweets that Thomas had complied with the rules of ethics in force and that there is a written record to support this.
“The Judicial Conference is the authoritative judicial body under the law and the 2012 Judicial Conference decision finds that Judge Thomas acted correctly in not disclosing the trips,” Paoletta, a lawyer who has served in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations and who is a close friend of the Thomas family, said Wednesday.
“Judge Thomas complied with the Ethics Act when he did not disclose travel under the personal hospitality exception,” Paoletta tweeted. “In 2011/12, the Judicial Conference specifically considered complaints that Thomas had failed to properly disclose and found that Thomas had acted correctly in not disclosing.”
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“After complaints filed in January 2011 that Thomas failed to disclose his wife’s salary, which was inadvertent, complaints were filed based on the June 2011 NYT. [New York Times] story about Thomas traveling on the Harlan Crow plane and boat and staying at Crow’s summer home, Topridge,” Paoletta continued.
“In a September 29, 2011 letter signed by Representative Slaughter and 20 members to the judicial conference, the members quoted [a New York Times] story that Judge Thomas violated the law by not disclosing his travels on Crow’s plane and boat on his forms,” Paoletta wrote.
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“The Judicial Conference responded to Congress on October 14, 2011, and stated that this letter was referred to the Judicial Conference Committee on Financial Disclosure for review,” it continued.
Paoletta said that on April 30, 2012, the Judicial Conference responded to Congress that it had reviewed the allegations in a September 29 letter and “concluded that nothing was presented to support a decision that Judge Thomas. .. willfully or improperly failed to disclose information regarding travel reimbursements.”
“Thus, the judicial conference specifically considered allegations in 2011/12 that Judge Thomas breached the law by failing to disclose his travels on Crow’s plane and boat pursuant to the personal hospitality exception and the court conference AGREED that Thomas was right not to disclose,” Paoletta said.
Paoletta says a May 15 letter to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., of the Judicial Conference “summarized findings that ‘nothing had been presented to support a decision that … Judge Thomas deliberately or improperly failed to disclose information regarding travel refunds.’
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Paoletta noted that under the Ethics in Government Act, the Judicial Conference is designated as the body responsible for “issuing interpretative advice, reviewing reports and determining compliance for power.” judicial”.
In a subsequent tweet, Paoletta asked if the authors of April The Pro Publica article even checked with the Judicial Conference to ask if they have spoken on the allegations and concluded that Thomas acted correctly in not disclosing the trips, since their documentation is public.
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“You are quoting left-wing ‘ethics experts,’ whose opinions are just partisan opinions, but I don’t see anything in your original article that you checked with the Judicial Conference,” Paoletta commented.