Oversight Democrats Urge Chairman Comer to Investigate Justice Clarence Thomas’ Failure to Disclose $267,230 Gift from Wealthy Businessman
Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2023)—Rep. Jamie Raskin, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, led Committee Democrats in calling on Chairman James Comer to investigate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after recent revelations that he failed to disclose a $267,230 debt to a health care executive even when the unpaid debt was forgiven in 2008. The letter follows Oversight Committee Democrats raising concerns about undisclosed gifts received by Supreme Court Justice Thomas at a hearing earlier this fall and Committee Republicans instead opting to use the Committee’s power to pursue political vendettas.
“Given Oversight Committee Republicans’ recent interest in two loans Joe Biden made to his brother when both were private citizens, in July 2017 and January 2018, each of which his brother repaid less than seven weeks later, we know of your intense interest in the field. We can only assume and trust that you will be opening an investigation into the disclosure that a sitting Supreme Court Justice received a $267,230 loan from a wealthy businessman that was never repaid and never disclosed in ethics filings,” wrote the Members.
Public reporting and a recent Senate Committee on Finance memorandum have revealed that Justice Thomas received a previously undisclosed loan of $267,230 from Anthony Welters, a health care executive and close friend, in order to purchase a luxury motorcoach. Records reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee show that in 2008, “Anthony Welters forgave a substantial amount, or even all of the principal balance of his loan to Clarence Thomas, constituting of the forgiveness of approximately $267,230.00 of debt owed by Justice Thomas.” Forgiveness of this debt would have generated a significant amount of taxable income for Justice Thomas, which must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Justice Thomas never disclosed the existence of this loan or the forgiveness of the $267,230 debt.
This comes as additional public reporting revealed that members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Thomas, have, for years, failed to disclose lavish gifts they received from wealthy individuals with business before the Supreme Court.
In the letter, Oversight Democrats call for an investigation into the ethics crisis in the Supreme Court, as getting all the facts will allow Congress to craft bipartisan legislation to ensure public faith in the highest Court of the land through true accountability and public transparency.
“Shortly before the start of this Congress, you penned an op-ed promising that during your tenure leading the Oversight Committee you would ‘conduct serious investigations and propose real reforms.’ Surely nothing is more serious than ensuring the integrity of the Supreme Court and the people who serve lifetime appointments on it. This latest revelation that Justice Thomas pocketed a loan of over $200,000 from a wealthy businessman, which he did not fully pay back and never reported, is yet further proof of the urgent need for thorough and careful investigation into the failure of the pathetic ethics process at the Supreme Court where each justice decides for himself or herself whether they are behaving ethically,” the Members concluded.
Click here to read today’s letter.