New Disclosures Raise More Troubling Questions
Washington, DC— In light of new financial disclosures from Justice Clarence Thomas and reports from the New York Times, ProtectOurElections.org and Change.org call for a criminal investigation of Justice Thomas, his wife Virginia and a wealthy benefactor, Harlan Crow who has showered the Thomases with expensive gifts, use of a private jet and yacht, and funding for the Thomas’ pet projects including at least a half million dollars for Liberty Central, an employer of Mrs. Thomas. On June 8, 2011, ProtectOurElections.org sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Public Integrity Section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) urging that they investigate information recently revealed in Thomas’ 2010 Financial Disclosure Form.
After that letter was sent, ProtectOurElections.org received an IRS form submitted by Mrs. Thomas, which states that in 2010, she was to receive $150,000 in salary from Liberty Central.
ProtectOurElections.org has previously sent several letters to the FBI and DOJ alleging improper conduct by Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia. Those allegations are:
First, Justice Thomas falsified 20 years of judicial financial disclosure forms by denying that his wife had income sources; second, he engaged in judicial corruption by receiving $100,000 in support from Citizens United during his nomination and then ruling in favor of Citizens United in 2010 without disclosing that fact or disqualifying himself; and third, he apparently conspired with his wife in a form of "judicial insider trading" by providing her with information about the result of the Court's decision in Citizens United prior to its issuance, which she then used to launch a new company to take financial advantage of that decision to benefit her and her husband.
ProtectOurElections.org’s new letter asks for an investigation into the following questions:
- Was Mrs. Thomas tipped off to the Citizens United decision before it was rendered?
- Did Mrs. Thomas launch Liberty Central to take advantage of Citizens United and did she receive any income as a result of Citizens United?
- What happened to the $550,000 raised by Mrs. Thomas for Liberty Central (which is listed on its 2009 IRS 990 form)?
- Did Mrs. Thomas raise funds for Liberty Central after the Citizens United decision and if so how much and what was it used for?
- Is Liberty Consulting engaged in consulting Supreme Court litigants or potential litigants?
- Is Liberty Consulting engaged in lobbying and if so is Mrs. Thomas lobbying for litigants before the Supreme Court?
- Is Liberty Consulting a legitimate company or a conduit to raise funds for the Thomas family?
On page 5 of the 2010 Financial Disclosure Form, under the heading "Investments and Trusts," Justice Thomas lists "Liberty Consulting," a lobbying and consulting firm founded by his wife to cater to the "tea party." It is unclear whether this disclosure refers to an investment in Liberty Consulting in 2010 or a return on an earlier investment.
Liberty Consulting was incorporated in Virginia on November 16, 2010 and launched a website, http://libertyinc.co/, on or about February 1, 2011. On February 8, 2011, ProtectOurElection.org staff went to the Liberty Consulting office "suite" in Burke, Virginia and discovered that it was a UPS Store mailbox with the same address as Liberty Central, a 501(c)(4) organization Virginia Thomas started on November 6, 2009. Mrs. Thomas had supposedly resigned from Liberty Central on November 14, 2010 after questions were raised about her involvement in that organization, including conflicts of interest, such as a memo with Virginia Thomas' name on it that declared the Obama administration’s health-care legislation unconstitutional.
On February 8, 2011, ProtectOurElections.org posted a video on YouTube about the appearance of fraud and conflicts of interest from Mrs. Thomas’ involvement in Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central. Within a few days, the Liberty Consulting website was removed from the Internet, and no further information has been released to the press or public about the company. ProtectOurElections.org has provided the DOJ with screen shots of that website which showed Mrs. Thomas trumpeting her connection to Liberty Central and promising clients that she will "leverage her 30 years of experience as a Washington ‘insider’ to assist" her clients.
On page 2 of the 2010 Financial Disclosure Form, under "Spousal Non-Investment Income," Justice Thomas reported that his wife received "salary and benefits" from both Liberty Consulting and Liberty Central in 2010.
According to the New York Times, Harlan Crow gave Mrs. Thomas the $500,000 used to launch Liberty Central, and it appears that Mrs. Thomas received $150,000 of that money in salary from Liberty Central in 2010. Because this appears to be a form of bribery, judicial corruption and money laundering to pay off Justice Thomas for his ruling on Citizens United, the FBI and DOJ must investigate this under federal criminal statutes.
Law professor Michael J. Hutter, writes in his article "Prosecuting Public Officials/Figures For Corruption:"
Public corruption in any form is the misuse of a public or government office for private gain. Its existence is an indication that something has gone wrong in the management of the government office, whether it be federal, state, or local. In that regard, it is a basic tenet that government is not to be used for personal enrichment and the extending of benefits to the corrupt.
- The prevention of corruption is essential not only to make government work for its intended purpose, e.g., ensure that public officials are using their office to further the public interest and not to enrich themselves or others, but also to preserve public confidence in the democratic process. As to the latter, the United States Supreme Court has observed: “[A] democracy is effective only if the people have faith in those who govern, and that faith is bound to be shattered when high officials and their appointees engage in activities which arouse suspicions of malfeasance and corruption.” (United States v. Miss. Valley Generating Co., 364 U.S. 520, 562 ).
The conduct of Justice Thomas, his wife, and possibly Harlan Crow, should be investigated under numerous federal statutes, including the following:
5 U.S.C. app section 104 for falsifying 20 years of A0-10 Financial Disclosure statements
18 USC 1001 for making multiple false statements under penalty of perjury
18 USC 201 for offering, making or receipt of bribes and illegal gratuities
18 USC 1346 for a scheme to deprive the public of honest services
- 18 USC 1341 and 1343 for mail and wire fraud in furtherance of the honest services scheme
In previous letters to the DOJ, ProtectOurElections.org asserted that the timing and facts surrounding Ms. Thomas’ involvement in Liberty Central give the appearance that the Thomases engaged in illegal "judicial insider trading" to enrich the Thomas family though the Citizens United decision.
1991: Citizens United Foundation provides $100,000 in advertising support for Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court.
Sept 9, 2009: Citizens United argued.
Nov 6, 2009: Virginia Thomas launches her new Liberty Central 501(c)(4) organization, which raises $550,000 in 2009, $500,000 of which came from Harlan Crow.
Jan 21, 2010: Citizens United decided.
January 29, 2010: Virginia Thomas files papers with IRS asserting that she would receive $150,000 in salary in 2010.
March 15, 2010: Virginia Thomas announces that Liberty Central would "accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court."
November 14, 2010: Liberty Central announces that Virginia Thomas would be leaving the organization.
November 16, 2010: Liberty Consulting incorporated in the state of Virginia.
February 4, 2011: Politico reports that Virginia Thomas had launched Liberty Consulting.
February 8, 2011: ProtectOurElections.org releases its expose of Liberty Consulting on YouTube.
February 12, 2011: Liberty Consulting website is deleted http://libertyinc.co/
February 23, 2011: ProtectOurElections.org files a formal bar complaint against Clarence Thomas requesting that he be disbarred on various grounds. http://www.velvetrevolution.us/images/Clarence_Thomas_MO_Bar_Complaint.pdf