Well, not literally. But there is a great irony for Clarence Thomas in the recent unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Nevada statute that bars state lawmakers from voting on legislation if they have an outside personal or business interest in the outcome of the vote. Justice Thomas’ own ethical standards have come under close scrutiny for many months now. Back in January, he was forced to publicly acknowledge that he had failed to reveal his wife’s income on his disclosure forms for the past 20 years — according to him, because he misunderstood the instructions on the forms. With that explanation, he put himself in the embarrassing position of having to support his denial that he did this intentionally by implicitly admitting that he was not smart enough, as a Supreme Court justice, to understand the relatively simple filing instructions federal judges have to follow in their annual income disclosures.
Then, he made things worse by refusing to recuse himself from participating in deliberations on the constitutionality of the new health care reform legislation, after it came to light that his wife was involved with various groups that opposed the Affordable Care Act and were trying to get it repealed — and that both he and his wife had financial ties to the organizational effort on the right to repeal the law.
As Mother Jones pointed out last month, Justice Thomas’ ethical Big Muddy is of particular interest in light of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. (The Mother Jones article was published when Rep. Weiner still was claiming that his Twitter account had been hacked, but the analogy still stands. Indeed, if anything, it’s even more valid than it was before Weiner admitted that he was personally responsible for sending the raunchy photos and messages.)
On June 1, the watchdog organization, ProtectOurElections.org, called for a federal investigation of Justice Thomas and his wife, Virginia Thomas, “for financial and judicial corruption partly based on the Justice’s newest financial disclosures.” The POE press release announcement continues:
First, the organization alleges, Justice Thomas falsified 20 years of judicial financial disclosure forms by denying that his wife had income sources; second, he engaged in judicial corruption by receiving $100,000 in support from Citizens United during his nomination and then ruling in favor of Citizens United in 2010 without disclosing that fact or disqualifying himself; and third, he apparently conspired with his wife in a form of “judicial insider trading” by providing her with information about the result of the Court’s decision in Citizens United prior to its issuance, which she then used to launch a new company to take financial advantage of that decision to benefit her and her husband.
On Friday, May 27, 2011, Clarence Thomas’ 2010 Financial Disclosure Forms were released showing that he had invested thousands of dollars in Liberty Consulting Inc. a lobbying and consulting firm founded by his wife to cater to the “tea party.” The disclosure also revealed that his wife received “salary and benefits” from Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central.
Today, ProtectOurElections.org is calling on the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section and the FBI to consider this new information in their investigation of Justice Thomas and his wife.
“Justice Thomas’ newest disclosures provide powerful evidence that he engaged in official corruption by investing in Liberty Consulting and by conspiring with his wife to enrich themselves from the Citizens United decision through Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central,” said ProtectOurElections.org attorney and spokesman Kevin Zeese. “As we have previously pointed out, Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central Justice are linked and appear to be AstroTurf scams meant to take advantage of the Citizens United decision and defraud donors. Now, it is clear that Justice Thomas invested in Liberty Consulting, which was founded by his wife shortly after she was forced by scandal to resign from Liberty Central.”
A few days after the release of our February 8, 2011 Liberty Consulting expose’ on YouTube, the website was deleted from the Internet and it remains offline today. This raises more questions about its legitimacy.
Personally, I am much more concerned about the ethical misbehavior that Clarence Thomas has displayed in his professional role as Supreme Court justice, than I am about the personal sexual obsessions of Anthony Weiner. The first directly determines how the law will affect my life and the lives of those I love. The second matters only to Anthony Weiner, his wife, and maybe his immediate family and close friends, but it does not affect me at all.