Lawmakers urge probe of Justice Thomas' income nondisclosures

The Daily Record Newswire

In a letter to the U.S. Judicial Conference, 19 House lawmakers called for an investigation into whether U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas violated federal ethics laws by omitting information from annual financial disclosure forms.

The members of Congress cite disclosure forms submitted by Thomas in past years with the box titled "none" checked in relation to his wife's income.

Thomas later amended the disclosures to include $686,000 in income that his wife Virginia Thomas earned from the Heritage Foundation, calling the initial omission an oversight.

The lawmakers requested that the matter be referred to the Justice Department to determine if the nondisclosure violated the Ethics in Government Act.

The law requires the Conference to refer to the Justice Department any judge it "has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported."

Under the Act, the maximum penalty for failure to properly fill out the disclosure forms is $10,000.

"To believe that Justice Thomas didn't know how to fill out a basic disclosure form is absurd," Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., ranking Member of the House Rules Committee and one of the letter's signatories.

"It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income.

"To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation."

Published: Thu, Oct 20, 2011