Clarence Thomas should face thousands in civil penalties: watchdog
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has called on the Department of Justice to investigate reports that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose gifts from a wealthy friend.
In a letter on Sunday, POGO members Walter M. Shaub and Sarah Turberville urged Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton to launch an immediate investigation into ProPublica's report finding Thomas failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow.
"Unless the investigation reveals that the facts differ radically from what has been reported, the Department of Justice should thereafter initiate an action against Justice Thomas under the Ethics in Government Act seeking a civil monetary penalty for each knowing and willful omission from his financial disclosure reports," the letter said.
Shaub and Turberville said the penalty for each offense was $71,316. It was not immediately clear how many gifts Thomas improperly failed to disclose.
"For over two decades, Justice Thomas accepted gifts of luxury vacation packages potentially worth millions of dollars from a billionaire political activist he met only after his appointment to the Supreme Court," the letter added. "The Department of Justice has a duty to hold Justice Thomas accountable for this flagrant and repeated law breaking, unless an investigation reveals that the facts radically differ from what has been reported. The department has enforced the disclosure law against other federal officials. There is no reason to treat Justice Thomas differently."
Read the letter here.
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