-By Ian Millhiser
June 22, 2011- As ThinkProgress has chronicled at length, Justice Clarence Thomas is caught in a series of ethics scandals concerning his and his wife’s close relationships with major right-wing donors and organizations. A central figure in these scandals is real estate mogul Harlan Crow, a leading conservative donor who has provided several lavish gifts and other favors on Thomas and his family, including $500,000 to allow Thomas’s wife to start a Tea Party group and a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass.
Today, Rep. Louise Slaugher (D-NY) became the first member of Congress to weigh in on the controversy with an e-mail calling upon Justice Thomas to explain the details of his relationship with Crow:
Despite the ethically questionable actions uncovered by the Times, Justice Thomas refuses to provide details about his relationship with Mr. Crow. The report from The New York Times is the latest in a long line of troubling actions taken by Justice Thomas, yet he refuses to share the necessary information to ensure that his service on the Supreme Court is fair and free from conflict of interest.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Justice Thomas failed to report six years worth of income from his wife’s work with the Heritage Foundation — a right-wing think tank that is often involved with issues that appear before for the Supreme Court.
It has also been revealed that Justice Thomas attended a Palm Springs retreat hosted by the Koch brothers — Republican donors who are among the main beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Citizens United.
Finally, despite his wife’s work with the group Liberty Central to oppose the Affordable Care Act, Justice Thomas has given no indication that he will recuse himself from any future case that may appear before the Supreme Court regarding the health care reform law.
Slaughter is also collecting online signatures for a petition demanding that Thomas reveal just what influence Crow has exerted over him.