Senate Democrats target Clarence Thomas in donation emails: ‘We must not lose momentum’

Four Senate Democrats sent fundraising emails on Friday to capitalize on allegations that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted gifts from a friend of the GOP mega-donors.

Fundraising emails from Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., reviewed by Fox News Digital, cited the News of reports gifts to Thomas when calling for passage of the Supreme Court Ethics Act, which would require a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices.


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Four Senate Democrats sent fundraising emails on Friday to capitalize on allegations that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted gifts from a friend of the GOP mega-donors. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“To restore public confidence in the Supreme Court, there must be a clear code of ethics that holds a judiciary accountable for their actions when they engage in conduct that crosses the line,” Durbin, who served as Senate chair acts judiciary committee, said in the email.

A series of stories about Thomas’ alleged history of gifts from GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow sparked outrage among Democrats. A ProPublica report Thursday detailed how Thomas took custody of his grandnephew in 1997, who then had Crow pay for his tuition at two private schools. A previous report indicated that Thomas was on a luxury vacation with Crow.

Whitehouse described the allegations as a “clear violation of existing ethical rules”.

“You have creepy right-wing billionaires, fake front groups, judges amenable to overtures, large sums of money and secrecy,” Whitehouse said in his email. “And over the past few months, thanks to Judge Thomas, we’ve had a front row seat to see these ingredients mix to cloud justice.”


Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Senator Dick Durbin and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Associated Press)

Thomas described Crow as a “dear friend” in an April statement and said there was never a need to report their travels together.

“Like friends, we have accompanied her on a number of family outings in the more than quarter century that we have known her. Early in my tenure on the court, I sought advice from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was told that this type of personal hospitality from close personal friends who had nothing to do with the court was not reportable,” Thomas said .

Mark Paoletta, a close friend of Thomas and an attorney who served in the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, defended Supreme Court justices in a statement Thursday. Paoletta said Crow recommended Randolph-Macon Academy, his alma mater, for Thomas’ great-nephew. Crow, Paoletta said, then paid for a year of tuition and later another year when he transferred to a boarding school.

“This story is yet another attempt to fabricate a scandal surrounding Judge Thomas,” Paoletta said. “But let’s get straight to what is now allegedly scandalous: Judge Thomas and his wife spent 12 years of their lives taking in and caring for a beloved child – who was not their own – just as Judge Thomas’ grandparents did for them had done him. ”

Left-wing protesters return to the homes of Supreme Court Justices as DEMOCRATS target CLARENCE THOMAS

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse sent a donation email to capitalize on the allegations against Judge Clarence Thomas. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Hirono complained in her donation email that Thomas had “no consequences for his corruption.”

“The Supreme Court — whose judges are among the most powerful in the country — has shown no interest in enacting a code of ethics that ensures they are subject to the same standards and transparency that anyone would expect in their own workplace,” Hirono said. “If they don’t, Congress has to demand it of them.”

All nine Supreme Court justices signed a letter in April stating that they adhere to a general code of conduct and that individual oversight by Congress is unnecessary.


Murphy explained in his donation email that Supreme Court justices needed to be held accountable.

“This is outrageous,” Murphy said of the Thomas story. “Congress cannot allow Supreme Court justices to so brazenly flout the conflict of interest rules that apply to every other federal judge.”

“My Supreme Court Ethics Act addresses this by requiring the Judicial Conference, which governs the federal courts, to create a mandatory code of conduct applicable to all federal judges and judges,” Murphy continued. “Support for this bill is growing in Congress by the day, but we must not lose momentum.”

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