ATLANTA - A Georgia congressman is calling on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign following a series of investigation into the justice's relationship with a conservative mega-donor.
Nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica revealed that Thomas and his wife Ginni were gifted with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of annual vacations and trips by Harlan Crow for decades — including international cruises on his mega-yacht, private jet flights and stays at Crow’s invitation-only resort in the Adirondacks.
In another report, the organization said that Crow purchased three properties in Georgia belonging to the justice in a deal that was worth mroe than $100,000. Thomas never reported the sale.
Citing state tax documents and property deeds, ProPublica reported that one of Crow’s companies paid $133,363 for the home in Savannah, Georgia where Thomas’ mother was living, along with two nearby vacant lots that belonged to Thomas’ family members. Thomas mother remained living in the home, which soon underwent tens of thousands of dollars in renovations.
But the 2014 real estate deal is the first public evidence of a direct financial transaction between the pair.
Federal officials, including Supreme Court justices, are required to disclose the details of most real estate transactions with a value of over $1,000. Thomas would not be required to report the purchase if the property was his or his spouse’s primary personal residence, but this stipulation does not apply to this purchase, which Thomas did not report.
Associate US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas poses for the official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on October 7, 2022. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
In response to the reports, Rep. Hank Johnson said that he was "deeply disappointed and angered" by the allegations that "Justice Thomas has been using his position as a Supreme Court Justice, to live like an out of control billionaire baller, on a $263K per year salary, lining his pockets and traveling in luxury-Elon Musk style, all the while falsifying his disclosure forms to keep his opulent lifestyle a secret from the American public – a public that deserves his honest services."
Johnson called the justice "brazenly corrupted" at a press conference Wednesday.
"To protect what little is left of public trust and respect for the United States Supreme Court, Justice Thomas must resign immediately. It's not enough to amend and try to hide your corruption. It's too late for that," the Georgia congressman said.
Both Thomas and Crow have released statements downplaying the significance of the gifts, with Thomas maintaining that he was not required to disclose the trips. Crow responded to the real estate disclosure with a statement to ProPublica saying that he approached Thomas about the purchase with an eye on honoring his legacy.
"My intention is to one day create a public museum at the Thomas home dedicated to telling the story of our nation’s second black Supreme Court Justice," the statement said. "Justice Thomas’s story represents the best of America."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.