(VitalNews.org) – Liberals have targeted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas since before his confirmation to the high court, and little has changed in the 30-plus years since.
It appears that some left-leaning journalism outlets are taking their funding from partisan non-governmental nonprofits to campaign against Thomas. Last week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint against the judge.
CREW claims Thomas violated ethics rules by failing to disclose “hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and property sales” they say he received from his personal friend, billionaire Republican Harlan Crow. Thomas has denied breaking any rules and says Crow has been a personal family friend for decades who extends hospitality to his friends and that there were no improper gifts.
The nonprofit news organization ProPublica is funded in part by donations from CREW. ProPublica’s recent report on Thomas included a quote from a former government lawyer Virginia Canter who now works for CREW. Canter stated, “When a justice’s lifestyle is being subsidized by the rich and famous, it absolutely corrodes public trust.”
She also said Thomas has disregarded his “higher ethical obligations.”
Less than a day after ProPublica’s April 6 report, CREW announced that it was filing an ethics complaint against Thomas.
Harlan Crow claims he is the victim of a ProPublica smear campaign.
ProPublica’s article said Thomas took trips on Crow’s yacht around the world and rode on Crow’s private jet without disclosing these trips as gifts. Thomas has countered, citing ethics rules that do not require such “hospitality” to be declared as a gift that could compromise a judge’s impartiality. He said he and his wife have been friends with Harlan Crow for decades.
It is unusual for news organizations to quote sources within stories when those sources are also donors to the news organization, at least without disclosing that conflict of interest, as ProPublica has done.
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