Clarence Thomas reveals GOP donor paid trips as judges finance report: NPR

Members of the Supreme Court sit for a new panel portrait following the induction of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC on October 7, 2022.

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WASHINGTON — Judge Clarence Thomas on Friday belatedly admitted to paying for excessive travel by Republican megadonor Harlan Crowe, while several colleagues reported six-figure payments as part of book deals.

Thomas, who has faced criticism over the years for failing to report luxury trips paid for by Crowe and others, said in his annual financial release that in 2019 Crowe paid for an overnight hotel room in Bali, Indonesia. Meals and lodging at a private club in Sonoma County, California. He did not report any travel paid for by others in the past year.

Curiously, what the revelation about Indonesia omits: the rest of the journey. ProPublica It was reported last year that Thomas flew to Indonesia on Crowe’s private jet and then boarded his superyacht for an island tour, one of several trips Crowe has given Thomas and his wife Ginny over the years.

Another judge, Katanji Brown Jackson, had eye-popping numbers, a nearly $900,000 advance for her upcoming memoir and attention-grabbing prizes, including four tickets to a Beyoncé concert worth $3,700 to the singer.

Jackson is one of only four Supreme Court justices to report substantial income from book deals. Judge Brett Kavanagh said he was paid $340,000 by the conservative Regnery Publishing Company. The company has been sold and the book is to be published by an imprint of Hachette Book Group, according to Axios, which reported this week that Kavanaugh’s book will deal with his controversial confirmation hearing involving allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied. The court confirmed on Friday that the judge is writing a legal memorandum.

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Judges Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sodomeyer estimated the royalty income at $250,000 and nearly $90,000, respectively.

In their day jobs, justices are paid $298,500 this year, except for Chief Justice John Roberts, who earns $312,200.

The only justice whose report was not available Friday was Samuel Alito, who received an extension of up to 90 days, as he has done most years. The Justice Department is under separate investigation into the flags flown outside the homes he owns. He said they were brought up by his wife.

Jackson, the first black woman on the nation’s Supreme Court, signed the book deal when she takes her seat in 2022. The book “Lovely One” will be released in September.

The total value of her book deal has not been made public, but it is expected to rival, if not exceed, the $3 million Sotomayor was paid for her memoir, “My Beloved World.”

Of the current justices, only Roberts, Alito and Justice Elena Kagan have yet to cut book deals. Thomas received a $1.5 million advance, astonishing at the time, for his 2007 book, “My Grandfather’s Son.” Judge Amy Coney Barrett announced she received $425,000 for a yet-to-be-published book in 2022, part of a $2 million deal she signed upon joining the court in 2020.

Since they are not required to disclose the value of their homes or their spouses’ salaries for married people, these disclosures paint a partial picture of judges’ finances.

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The judges adopted a code of conduct in November, although there are no guidelines for enforcing it. This code treats travel, meals and accommodation as expenses rather than gifts, for which monetary values ​​must be reported. Judges are not required to attach value to costs.

In March, the federal Judiciary began requiring judges to disclose travel-related gifts and their values ​​— rather than reporting such gifts as reimbursements. Judges say they generally adhere to the same rules, but Thomas Bally did not disclose the price of the hotel.

Some Democratic lawmakers have continued to push for legislation that would require the court to adopt a binding protocol and grant hearings into alleged violations. But the prospect of such legislation is considered remote in a closely divided Congress.

Last year only two judges announced the prizes. Thomas said he was given two photo albums valued at $2,000 by Terence Giroux and his wife. Giroux is executive director emeritus of the Horatio Alger Association.

Jackson received $12,500 worth of artwork for his Supreme Court office. And then there were the Beyoncé tickets, which cost more than $900 a pop. Beyoncé performed two concerts in the Washington area in August 2023, although Jackson’s revelation did not say when or where tickets were.

“Justice Jackson is crazy about Beyoncé’s music,” Supreme Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said, prompting Beyoncé’s song. “Who doesn’t?”

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