Thomas has accepted $4M in gifts during career: Watchdog

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Thomas has accepted $4M in gifts during career: Watchdog

Supreme Court Justices have received nearly $5 million in gifts since the early 2000s and one justice in particular, Clarence Thomas, accounts for nearly all of it.

Data released Thursday by watchdog group, Fix the Court, unveils a list of gifts justices have received since Jan. 2004. The dataset was released ahead of an expected release of the justices’ financial disclosure reports Friday.

Thomas, nominated to the high court by former President George H.W. Bush, made headlines last year after an investigation found he had taken dozens of trips paid for by separate billionaire friends.

According to the data compiled by Fix the Court, since 2004, Thomas has accepted $4,042,286, or 193 gifts. The group reported that, for Thomas, there’s an addition 126 “likely but not confirmed gifts.”

Of the nearly 200 gifts, the group said Thomas only reported 27 of the gifts on his financial disclosures.

The dataset included current and former justices dating back to 2004, tallying their gift totals, including Thomas’, to be about $4.7 million.

“Supreme Court justices should not be accepting gifts, let alone the hundreds of freebies worth millions of dollars they’ve received over the years,” Fix the Court’s Gabe Roth said in a statement. “Public servants who make four times the median local salary, and who can make millions writing books on any topic they like, can afford to pay for their own vacations, vehicles, hunting excursions and club memberships.”

Roth continued, arguing that there is influence in who gives the justices gifts and what they are buying with their “generosity.”

“The ethics crisis at the Court won’t begin to abate until justices adopt stricter gift acceptance rules,” he said.

The watchdog group acknowledged that the total gift calculations may be lower than what’s actually true. For example, the group was unable to verify a hunting lodge that Justice Antonin Scalia stayed in and Scalia, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and William Rehnquist died in office, so the numbers “might be undercounts.”

Scalia was the second highest gift-receiver, with $210,164 from Jan. 2004 to his death in 2016.

The list of gifts comes after Democrats called for Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from cases related to Jan. 6 and former President Trump currently before the court after it was reported that a “Stop the Steal” flag was flown outside his house after the attack on the Capitol.

Last week, Alito rejected the calls to recuse himself in the cases.

Alito received the third-most gifts, with $170,095 from his first day on Jan. 31, 2006, to present day, the data said.