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Justice Clarence Thomas Failed to Report Wife's Earnings, Watchdog Says

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report nearly $700,000 of his wife's income from a conservative foundation during a four-year span, according to a government watchdog.

Common Cause cited IRS records from the Heritage Foundation that that show the think tank paid Virginia Thomas $686,589 between 2003 and 2007. Clarence Thomas did not note the earnings in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years. Where "spousal noninvestment income" would be disclosed, the justice checked the box next to "none," the watchdog said.

Virginia Thomas was also paid by Liberty Central, a conservative political action group she co-founded in 2009. That income was also not noted by her husband, according to Common Cause.

Clarence Thomas, as a federal official, is required to disclose his spouse's income under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Common Cause said it discovered the gaps in the records while researching potential conflicts of interest in Citizens United, last year's landmark Supreme Court decision concerning political spending by corporations and unions.

The Thomases have not commented, and neither have officials at the Supreme Court.

Steven Lubet, a judicial ethics expert at Northwestern University School of Law, told The Los Angeles Times that Clarence Thomas' apparent violation was unlikely to result in a penalty.

Failure to disclose spousal income "is not a crime of any sort, but there is a potential civil penalty," for failing to follow the rules, Lubet told the newspaper.

The Times noted that in most cases, judges amend the financial disclosure paperwork when an error is discovered.

Filed Under: Taxes, Supreme Court

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Funny that the very first remark I read asks which is worse, "hiding income for tax purposes or forgetting to put some incomome on a form that has no other purpose but to be gawked at?"
When did 700K become such a belittled amount that it could be easily forgotten on a form by a Supreme Court justice? I would argue that both of the above should be problematic when one reaches the stature of a Supreme Court Justice. But, maybe its just more of the dumbing down of America. One would question whether the writer thinks its even fair to have Supreme Court Justices report additional and/or spousal income at all? But then I guess in the Republican world, all justice comes with a price tag.

January 25 2011 at 2:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I see a bunch of liberals on here going for the throat when they have no clue as to what this is about. They seem to think there is a tax issue. There isn't a tax issue or it would say she failed to pay taxes on income she earned. So I would say the probability that they paid all their taxes is high. The issue is that some income was left off a disclosure form that must be filed. It has no bearing on taxes. The artcile does not say whether or not they intentionally left off the income. Either way, it is not as bad as half of Obama's cromies not paying taxes on some of their income. What is worse, hiding income for tax purposes or forgetting to put some income on a form that has no other purpose but to gawked at?

January 25 2011 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This isn't about taxes (as so many comments seem to think) is about the requirement that ALL upper government folk are required to make public all household income. I suspect the Thomas' kept their taxes current. But, as a Justice, he is required to fill out paperwork that informs all of us on his households much and where it comes from.

January 24 2011 at 11:28 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Ever since his scandalous nomination hearings, I have not liked, nor have I ever trusted, this man. As far as I'm concerned, he never should have been appointed to the Supreme Court because it was proven to me, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he did indeed sexually harass Anita Hill (and probably countless others, too) and then continually lied about it, under oath. Hey, isn't that perjury, which is illegal, not to mention UNETHICAL? Of course it is. Clarence Thomas has got to go; he's unfit to serve. We, the people, should be able to forcibly remove crooks like him from our nation's highest court.

January 24 2011 at 10:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Not enough info in this article.Did she file seperately?It states that it is not a crime it just has to be amended.Everyone gets that chance if you made a mistake.It says right on your tax forms"to the best of your knowledge".If you made an honest mistake wha'ts the problem?
It isn't like he was trying to join the Obama administration where it's required to cheat on your taxes to qualify.

January 24 2011 at 9:46 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to slowhanddean's comment
The Mortons

If she had filed seperately, there would not be a question involved? He would not have to report anything to the public or the IRS. The statement states he did not show her income.
I think he thinks he is above the law.

January 24 2011 at 10:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It's not about taxes. She probably paid her taxes just fine, or there would have been a crime. Thomas is required, as a SC justice, to report ALL household income, including his wifes income, for the public record. It's a big deal.

January 24 2011 at 11:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Surprise Surprise lolol

January 24 2011 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This man doesn`t belong on the supreme court or any other court.

January 24 2011 at 9:16 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Doesn't everybody realize that as members of SCOTUS, Thomas and Scalia are above the law?

January 24 2011 at 8:55 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

I love my wife. Her politics occasionally agree with mine, occasionally disagree. I cannot conceive of a situation in which I would be so influenced by my wife's politics that I would decide an issue counter to my good faith understanding.

January 24 2011 at 8:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

If you or I were to do such a crime we would find ourselves doing time. I suspect the only action taken against Thomas' wife is she'll have to make payment to the IRS with a penalty. As for the Justice himself, he is now a accessory because it was a join return. Does this not make him unfit for being a Supreme Court justice? I say it does.

January 24 2011 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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