Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court has acknowledged his participation in three private plane trips during the past year, all facilitated by prominent Republican donor Harlan Crow. This marks a departure from previous years during which Thomas had not reported such hospitality from Crow.
In a report made public on Thursday, the 75-year-old justice explained that he was adhering to newly established guidelines from the federal judiciary that mandate the reporting of travel. This disclosure comes in the midst of growing attention to ethical matters within the high court, partly spurred by investigative reports that unveiled Thomas’s receipt of undisclosed valuable gifts, including international travel, from Harlan Crow—a wealthy entrepreneur and supporter of conservative causes.
One of the trips outlined in the disclosure involved Thomas visiting Crow’s lodge situated in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. This location has been reported by investigative news site ProPublica as a recurring annual destination for Thomas.
The two other trips mentioned in the report took Thomas to Dallas, where he participated in conferences sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Notably, for one of these trips occurring in mid-May, court officials recommended avoiding commercial travel due to concerns about security following the unauthorized leak of the court’s draft opinion on an abortion-related case.
The disclosure also revealed that Crow had purchased a home in Savannah, Georgia, where Thomas’s mother currently resides. Although the sale was finalized in 2014, Thomas stated that he had not reported it earlier due to a misconception about reporting requirements.
Aside from the private jet travel and real estate matters, Justice Thomas made several corrections to his financial reports. These adjustments included previously omitted accounts at a credit union and a life insurance policy held by his wife, which together were valued at less than $100,000.
Justice Thomas also indicated that he is deliberating whether to update his prior financial reports to include additional private plane travel. The annual financial disclosures for both Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito were released on Thursday, approximately three months after the other seven justices’ reports were made public.
Alito’s report showed assets ranging from $2.8 million to $7.4 million, primarily held in mutual funds, although he retains shares in various energy and other companies, occasionally necessitating his recusal from Supreme Court cases.