A billionaire GOP megadonor’s citizenship in tax haven 'raises new questions' about Clarence Thomas: report

A billionaire GOP megadonor’s citizenship in tax haven 'raises new questions' about Clarence Thomas: report

Throughout his 32 years on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas, now 74, has been controversial. Thomas, a George H.W. Bush appointee, was confirmed to the High Court after a contentious U.S. Senate battle in which attorney Anita Hill alleged that he had sexually harassed her — an allegation Thomas vehemently denied. And during the 1990s and 2000s, the far-right justice often butted heads with the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as well as with Justice Anthony Kennedy (a right-wing libertarian and Ronald Reagan appointee who was replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh after his retirement in 2018) on issues like abortion and gay rights.

Thomas hasn't become any less divisive during the Joe Biden era. Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has called for his impeachment, citing reports that his wife, MAGA activist Ginni Thomas, was part of efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and falsely claimed that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump — as well as ProPublica's reporting that Justice Thomas, for over 20 years, was treated to luxury vacations by billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crow and failed to report it. ProPublica has also reported that Thomas didn't report a real estate transaction in which he sold property in Georgia to Crow.

The chances of Thomas actually being impeached are small. Republicans have a single-digit majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, while Democrats have a narrow effective majority in the U.S. Senate. And not many of AOC's fellow Democrats have publicly joined her in calling for his impeachment. Nonetheless, Justice Thomas continues to be a target of scathing criticism from his opponents, and a report by the Project On Government Oversight's Jason Paladino and The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein will only add to the criticism.

READ MORE: Bernie Sanders: DOJ 'should be' investigating Clarence Thomas

In their report, published on April 25, Paladino and Klippenstein reveal that Thomas "may have benefitted" from Crow's citizenship on St. Kitts and Nevis.

"Harlan Crow, the billionaire GOP donor who paid for luxury travel on his private jet and yacht for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was a dual citizen of the U.S. and the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis as recently as last year, according to recently unearthed documents," Paladino and Klippenstein explain. "In 2012, Crow and his family were granted passports for St. Kitts and Nevis, a tax haven known for impenetrable financial secrecy, through a cash-for-citizenship scheme…. The revelation of Crow's history as a dual citizen of a nation considered to be one of the world's most secretive tax havens raises new questions about the lavish, undisclosed gifts to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, first revealed by ProPublica."

The reporters continue, "On Monday, (April 24), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Crow seeking evidence that Crow 'complied with all relevant federal tax and ethics laws' — something his dual-citizen status is sure to complicate…. Even among tax havens, St. Kitts and Nevis is considered high-risk by regulators, once even appearing on a Financial Stability Forum list of countries that were 'non-cooperative' with global efforts to fight money laundering and financial crime."

Paladino and Klippenstein note that although there is "no evidence that Crow's dual citizenship is connected to any illegal activity," the "existence of the potential conflict of interest" for Justice Thomas "is alarming to ethics experts."

READ MORE: Clarence Thomas should face thousands in civil penalties: watchdog

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) told POGO and The Intercept, "If tax avoidance and secrecy are what Harlan Crow was seeking, it might be no coincidence that concurrently and for more than two decades, Justice Thomas has been concealing the full extent of his financial relationship with Harlan Crow. The public interest requires that financial relationships between Supreme Court justices and people like Harlan Crow be publicly disclosed."

READ MORE: John Roberts sidesteps Senate request to discuss Clarence Thomas scandals

Read thefull POGO/Intercept report at this link.

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