A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Clarence Thomas Thinks Rules Are For Other People

Supreme Court justices are appointed for life and are not subject to the whims of electoral politics.   This is so they can make their decisions on the law and what is right, not on what would get them re-elected (as many politicians do).   But that does not mean there aren't rules they must abide by just like all other public officials or government servants.

One of those rules regards financial disclosure.   This is so the public can be sure they are not being paid off to make certain decisions.   And these disclosure rules extend to spouses of government officials.   That prevents someone from funneling payoffs through the spouse to avoid financial disclosure.

But it looks like Justice Clarence Thomas thinks that the financial disclosure rules are for other people, and he has decided that he'll only report what he wants to report.   And one thing he has decided not to report is his wife's income -- a clear violation of financial disclosure laws.

The government watchdog group Common Cause is reporting that Thomas' wife earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007.   However, Thomas' financial disclosure statements for those years shows that he checked the box saying "none" on the part of the form where a spouse's income was to be reported.   Common Cause also believes Mrs. Thomas received an undisclosed salary from Liberty Central in 2009, and Thomas again declared no income for her on his financial statement.

Thomas has argued in the past that he believes the requirement to disclose large political contributions are unconstitutional.   It looks like he has decided that his personal beliefs are more important than federal law, and he's going to hide some of his family finances regardless of what the law says.   This is unconscionable behavior on his part and should be severely punished.

It also makes me wonder if he's hiding more than just his wife's legal income.   he is known to consort with fringe right-wingers like the Koch brothers (who fund many right-wing groups, including the teabaggers, and put millions into supporting right-wing candidates in the last election).   The Koch brothers and others were able to spend those millions in the last election because of the Citizens United vs FEC court case decided by the Supreme Court (which removed campaign spending limits for corporations and other organizations).

Thomas was one of the justices voting for the campaign limit removal.   The question must be asked -- was Thomas paid to make that decision?   How can we know since he refuses to fully disclose his finances?

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