Welch joins colleagues in calling for Thomas ethics investigation

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas/File photo
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas/File photo(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 10:03 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Senator Peter Welch is joining a group of senators calling for an ethics investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

In a report by ProPublica, Justice Thomas is accused of failing to disclose luxury gifts and travel financed by Republican billionaire Harlan Crow. According to federal financial disclosure laws, senior government officials -- including Supreme Court members -- are required to report any gifts like this annually.

“To date, the Court has barely acknowledged, much less investigated, these allegations.  Amidst all of this—perhaps due in part to the Court’s inaction—the American people’s trust in the Supreme Court has plummeted to an all-time low.  We believe that it is your duty as Chief Justice ‘to safeguard public faith in the judiciary,’ and that fulfilling that duty requires swift, thorough, independent and transparent investigation into these allegations,” Welch said in a letter last week to Chief Justice John Roberts.

The ProPublica report outlines how Crow paid for Thomas and his wife to use his private plane and vacation on his yacht and at a private resort in the Adirondacks. Crow also purchased three properties belonging to Thomas and his family, in a transaction worth more than $100,000 that Thomas never reported.

Thomas has said he was not required to report the luxury trips, but says he will now amend his financial disclosure forms to reflect the 2014 real estate deal.