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Clarence Thomas (still) needs to testify after (latest) undisclosed gift report

ProPublica’s latest report on the justice’s undisclosed gifts from GOP billionaire Harlan Crow could have been uncovered already by truthful testimony.


“Does the ProPublica report detail the full extent of gifts that Harlan Crow gave you over the years? If not, what are the others?”

Those were among the questions I listed a month ago that the Senate Judiciary Committee could have asked Justice Clarence Thomas, following ProPublica’s bombshell report on his years of failing to disclose lavish gifts from Crow, a billionaire and GOP megadonor. Since then, yet more information has trickled out about Crow and Thomas' financial ties, while the committee held an ethics reform hearing Tuesday at which Thomas wasn’t even asked to appear.

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That brings us to ProPublica’s latest report, on Thursday, that Crow paid for Thomas’ grand-nephew’s private schooling. The justice didn’t disclose the payments, which could have exceeded $150,000 in total, ProPublica reported, citing public records of school tuition rates.

The report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, noted that Thomas did disclose a $5,000 gift for the child’s education from another friend, suggesting that Thomas understood that this was the sort of thing to disclose. Thomas had legal custody of the child and raised him as his own son, while the child's father (Thomas’ nephew) was incarcerated.

So why disclose the gift from one friend and not the (apparently much larger) gift from Crow? Thomas didn’t respond to ProPublica’s questions for this latest report. That’s all the more reason for the Senate to seek answers.

Or we can just keep waiting for new information to trickle out.