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Twenty House Democrats have requested that a federal investigation be opened into Justice Clarence Thomas’s failure to comply with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Last week the Democrats wrote a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States requesting that the Department of Justice open the investigation.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled "none" on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality…she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone. –Huffington Post

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has rightly argued that Justice Thomas, as a member of the highest court in the land, should have known full well how to fill out a routine financial disclosure form. To state that he simply made a mistake year after year to the tune of more than $700,000 is suspicious, plain and simple.

According to the letter, Justice Thomas may have also failed to disclose other gifts, including the free use of a private yacht and plane belonging to Harlan Crow, a major Republican donor and Thomas’s close friend. (Notably, Crow also gave Thomas’s wife $500,000 in 2009 to help start Liberty Central, a conservative advocacy group; these funds were not initially disclosed either.)

The Supreme Court is far too crucial a deliberative body for us to allow ethical “mistakes” like this to slide. Each Justice is charged with upholding and shaping the law, and no Justice is above it.

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