Clarence Thomas acknowledges trips with billionaire Harlan Crow in financial disclosure

WASHINGTON — Justice Clarence Thomas reported a 2019 trip to Bali with billionaire friend Harlan Crow in his annual financial disclosures report released Friday — a previously reported instance of the justice’s cozy relationship with the real-estate mogul.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson received concert tickets worth $3,700 from pop superstar Beyoncé, according to her report.

She and other justices also announced big advances for books they are working on — with Jackson’s by far the largest: $894,000 for her upcoming book, compared to $340,000 for Justice Brett Kavanaugh and $250,000 for Justice Neil Gorsuch. That Kavanaugh — whose confirmation hearing was dominated by accusations of sexual misconduct dating back decades (which he denied) — is writing a book was first reported by Axios on Thursday.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor also announced more than $86,000 in book royalties, plus a more modest $1,879 payment for doing voiceover work for her appearance on the animated children’s show “Alma’s Way.”

Members of the Supreme Court  in Washington, D.C.
Members of the Supreme Court released their annual financial disclosures on Friday.Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

The annual reports list such things as outside earnings, assets, gifts and stock holdings. Justices can ask for an extension, which Justice Samuel Alito has done, meaning his report was not available.

Thomas’ disclosure of his 2019 trip to Bali as well as another trip to California the same year to the private Bohemian Grove club, both with Crow, correspond to trips that Pro Publica reported on last year in a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning stories about previously undisclosed luxury travel that raised questions about the Supreme Court’s commitment to ethics rules.

In his report, Thomas mentions just one night in a Bali hotel with Crow and Crow’s wife, although the Pro Publica story chronicled a more extensive trip that included island-hopping on a superyacht. Pro Publica also reported that Thomas flew to Indonesia on Crow’s private jet.

Likewise, Thomas reported lodging expenses for the California trip, but not any travel costs. Pro Publica said Thomas had traveled on Crow’s private jet to Bohemian Grove.

At the time of the original Pro Publica report, Thomas said that under ethics rules that were in place then, he was not required to report trips on private jets funded by friends. He said the trips were a form of “personal hospitality” that justices did not have to report.

Thomas’ report said the two trips had been “inadvertently omitted” from his 2019 report. There was no mention in Thomas’ report of any Crow-related trips since the Pro Publica stories were published.

The Supreme Court adopted a new code of conduct last year amid the scrutiny over the justices’ ethics, although it has been heavily criticized for lacking any enforcement mechanism. The judiciary has also updated its disclosure rules to make it clear that private jet travel has to be reported.

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