Senators ask DOJ to investigate 'serious possibility of additional tax fraud' by Clarence Thomas

  • Democratic Senators asked Merrick Garland for a special counsel investigation into Clarence Thomas.

  • They seek to probe Thomas's ethics and the "serious possibility" of tax fraud from undeclared gifts.

  • Thomas's financial ties to billionaire Harlan Crow and other elites have drawn increasing scrutiny.

Two Democratic senators have called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to open a special counsel investigation into Clarence Thomas.

in a letter released Tuesday, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ron Wyden of Oregon requested a probe into potential federal ethics violations and the "serious possibility" of tax fraud by the Supreme Court Justice.

Thomas has faced increasing scrutiny over his personal and financial ties to billionaires like right-wing megadonor Harlan Crow, who has treated the justice to lavish international trips, gifts, and tuition for Thomas's grand-nephew, Mark Martin, to attend expensive boarding schools.

In August of last year, Thomas updated his 2022 financial disclosures to include previously undeclared gifts and vacations from Crow.

"We do not make this request lightly," the senators wrote: "The evidence assembled thus far plainly suggests that Justice Thomas has committed numerous willful violations of federal ethics and false-statement laws and raises significant questions about whether he and his wealthy benefactors have complied with their federal tax obligations. Presented with opportunities to resolve questions about his conduct, Justice Thomas has maintained a suspicious silence."

A spokesperson for Whitehouse directed Business Insider to a press release about the letter, which indicated Whitehouse has for more than a year called for the Judicial Conference to investigate Justice Thomas's "omissions of billionaire-funded gifts and income from his legally required annual financial disclosure reports."

A representative for Wyden, the chairman of the Senate's Committee on Finance, told Business Insider that the committee released a staff memo in October detailing that Thomas had never reported he'd received forgiveness on a $267,230 loan on his ethics forms, which prompted questions about his tax compliance.

Following months of the committee's repeated requests for an explanation from Thomas and his attorney that went unanswered, the spokesperson said requesting a formal investigation was the necessary next step.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment on the letter when reached by Business Insider.

Representatives for the Supreme Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Thomas has previously denied any wrongdoing, arguing gifts from Crow and others fall under a "personal hospitality exemption," meaning they don't require disclosure.

Read the original article on Business Insider