In this season of political madness, where taxpayers are being asked
to bail out gigantic financial institutions that made bad bets to the
tune of billions upon billions of dollars, a falsified financial
disclosure statement may seem like small potatoes indeed. But it isn’t
when the perp sits on the highest court in the land.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas filed a false financial statement. Not once. Repeatedly. For decades.
It’s a crime for which an average citizen would at the least be fined
and, considering its frequency and duration, would probably have to do
some jail time. Calling it just a “misunderstanding” would not likely
Here’s what the big misunderstanding looks like:
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires federal officials like
Thomas to file a yearly form in which he notes not only his own
sources of income but any non-investment income earned by his wife.
Wives are included, reasonably enough, in order to prevent public
officials from hiding bribes by funneling them to spouses.
Thomas’s wife, Virginia, makes non-investment money, and a lot of
it. For example, from 2003 to 2007 she worked for the Heritage
Foundation and was paid more than $120,000 per year, according to the
organization’s own IRS reporting. These years were apparently not
atypical, as Thomas has now filed “amended” disclosures going all the
way back to 1989, but how much she made is really beside the point.
Because Thomas failed to report any of it. Every year. Not only
that, on the annual disclosure form, under “Spouse’s Non-Investment
Income,” there is a little box marked “None.” That’s the one the
Justice checked. Year in and year out.
Suppose for a moment that for seven years your spouse has been
pulling down $120K per year, yet on your own personal disclosure forms,
the ones you filed every April 15, that income somehow slipped through
the cracks and you forgot to report it. Think you’d get away with an
“Oops”? Maybe, if you were lucky, you’d escape with a fine and a
Everyone on the Supreme Court reports to work in a building over whose entrance Equal Justice Under Law is chiseled in stone. If Clarence Thomas is allowed to walk, then perhaps it’s time to unchisel it.
Read the rest here
In : Politics
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