The lifestyle Justice Clarence Thomas has enjoyed over the last three decades bankrolled by gifts and hospitality from his wealthy friends is more extensive than previously known, according to a new ProPublica report, and has included numerous flights on private planes, skybox tickets to sporting events, stays at luxury resorts, and a standing invitation to play at a high-end private golf club in Florida.
The new report is the broadest look yet at how Thomas’ social circle has funded – with limited disclosure to the public – a regular stream of extravagant excursions and events since he became a Supreme Court justice. These costly trips and travel perks often went unreported on the justice’s financial disclosure forms, ProPublica said in its investigation.
Thomas is already under intense scrutiny for gifts he received from Harlan Crow, a GOP megadonor who treated Thomas and his wife to extravagant vacations, paid for the tuition of a Thomas family member and entered into an unusual real estate transaction related to the home of Thomas’ mother. In April, Thomas released a statement defending his friendship with Crow. “As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them,” Thomas wrote.
The latest investigation unearths a pattern of gifts to Thomas from Crow and three other billionaires who have been major contributors to Republican causes: David Sokol, the former heir apparent of Berkshire Hathaway; the late H. Wayne Huizenga, who made his vast fortune in his ownership of Blockbuster, Waste Management Inc. and other major companies; and Paul “Tony” Novelly, who formerly owned an oil company.
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