Letter to James Duff on Virginia Thomas' Income

January 21, 2011



James C. Duff

Secretary to the Judicial Conference of the United States

Administrative Office of the United States Courts

Suite 2-301

One Columbus Circle, N.E.

Washington, DC 20544

Dear Mr. Duff:

It has come to our attention that Justice Thomas has failed to disclose the non-investment income of his spouse, Virginia Thomas, for her employment at the Heritage Foundation in 2003-2007, and at Liberty Central in 2009.

According to the Heritage Foundation's Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Ms. Thomas earned a salary in excess of $120,000 each year between 2003 and 2007. In 2009, Ms. Thomas became the founding CEO of a new 501(c)(4) organization, Liberty Central. The current CEO, Sarah Field, told the New York Times that Ms. Thomas was compensated for her work at Liberty Central at a salary set by the board.

Nonetheless, for each year from 2003 to 2009, Justice Thomas checked the box for "None" for "Spouse's Non-Investment Income" on his annual disclosure forms. (See attached table and links.)

The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires federal officials, including Supreme Court justices, to disclose their spouse's income. See 5 U.S.C. app. � 102(e)(1)(A). The statute requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General the name of any federal judge that it "has reasonable cause to believe has.willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information to be reported." 5 U.S.C. app. � 104.

Common Cause respectfully requests that the Judicial Conference make such a determination in the case of Justice Thomas, and if reasonable cause is found, to refer the matter to the Attorney General.

Without disclosure, the public and litigants appearing before the Court do not have adequate information to assess potential conflicts of interest, and disclosure is needed to promote the public's interest in open, honest and accountable government.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Bob Edgar

President and CEO

Arn H. Pearson, Esq.

Vice President for Programs

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's failure to disclose income of spouse

Year

Virginia Thomas's Salary

According to Justice Thomas's Disclosure*

2003

$ 121,291 from Heritage Foundation

Recorded as 'None'

2004

$131,316 from Heritage Foundation

Recorded as 'None'

2005

$144,245 from Heritage Foundation

Recorded as 'None'

2006

$144,193 from Heritage Foundation

Recorded as 'None'

2007

$145,544 from Heritage Foundation

Recorded as 'None'

2008

Not Known

Recorded as 'None'

2009

According to Sarah Field, current Liberty Central CEO and general counsel, Virginia Thomas received a Salary from Liberty Central as founding CEO. Amount received is unknown.

Recorded as 'None'

*Source: Judicial Watch

TITLE 5 - APPENDIX

ETHICS IN GOVERNMENT ACT OF 1978

TITLE I - FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL

� 102. Contents of reports

(e) (1) (A) The source of items of earned income earned by a spouse from any person which exceed $1,000 and the source and amount of any honoraria received by a spouse, except that, with respect to earned income (other than honoraria), if the spouse is self-employed in business or a profession, only the nature of such business or profession need be reported.

� 104. Failure to file or filing false reports

(a) (1) The Attorney General may bring a civil action in any appropriate United States district court against any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies or who knowingly and willfully fails to file or report any information that such individual is required to report pursuant to section 102. The court in which such action is brought may assess against such individual a civil penalty in any amount, not to exceed $50,000.

(2)

(A) It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly and willfully-

(i) falsify any information that such person is required to report under section 102; and

(ii) fail to file or report any information that such person is required to report under section 102.

(B) Any person who-

(i) violates subparagraph (A)(i) shall be fined under title 18, United States Code,

imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both; and

(ii) violates subparagraph (A)(ii) shall be fined under title 18, United States Code.

(b) The head of each agency, each Secretary concerned, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, each congressional ethics committee, or the Judicial Conference, as the case may be, shall refer to the Attorney General the name of any individual which such official or committee has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported. Whenever the Judicial Conference refers a name to the Attorney General under this subsection, the Judicial Conference also shall notify the judicial council of the circuit in which the named individual serves of the referral.

(c) The President, the Vice President, the Secretary concerned, the head of each agency, the Office of Personnel Management, a congressional ethics committee, and the Judicial Conference, may take any appropriate personnel or other action in accordance with applicable law or regulation against any individual failing to file a report or falsifying or failing to report information required to be reported.

[All emphasis added]


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