Justice Clarence Thomas has a pattern of accepting free previously unreported luxury travel over many years from several rich benefactors, according to Thursday reporting from Propublica. File Photo by Eric Lee/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas routinely accepted at least 38 previously unreported lavish vacations underwritten by wealthy benefactors, according to a new report from ProPublica Thursday.
Among Thomas' wealthy benefactors are David Sokol, a former top executive at Berkeshire Hathaway, billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga, oil baron Paul "Tony" Novelly and the previously reported Harlan Crow, the report stated.
ProPublica noted that some of the favors, including stays at their personal homes may not have needed to be disclosed, ethics experts said he may have run afoul by failing to disclose flights, yacht cruises and expensive sports tickets.
Sokol, who resigned from Berkshire Hathaway in 2011 after a company investigation found he had violated insider trading policies has donated more than $1 million to Republican politicians and groups.
He hosted Thomas at his $20.1 million home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and at a private lakeside resort in the Adirondacks as well as at his Jackson Hole, Wyo., ranch in the foothills of the Tetons, ProPublica reported.
Novelly, an oil billionaire, hosted Thomas multiple times in recent years for yacht trips around the Bahamas. The yacht costs $60,000 a week for people who want to charter it.
Thomas also benefitted for 20 years from free trips and entertainment from Huizenga including trips on private aircraft and other luxuries.
In April, ProPublica detailed 20 years worth of expensive trips given to Thomas by billionaire Harlan Crow, including private jet and yacht trips.
"It's just the height of hypocrisy to wear the robes and live the lifestyle of a billionaire," Don Fox, former general counsel for the U.S. Office of Government Ethics told ProPublica.
Thomas and his rich friends deny that there's anything transactional or unethical going on when it comes to cases before the Supreme Court.
Thomas appears to have met Huizenga, Sokol and Novelly the Horatio Alger Association. Thomas hosts an event every year for the group inside the Supreme Court's Great Hall. Donations of at least $1500 were required to attend the event.
When they first learned of the trips Thomas had been given by Crow, Senate Democrats said they would investigate and called for an enforceable code of conduct for the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 to approve an ethical code of conduct for the Supreme Court with all committee Republicans voting against it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the move an "intimidation campaign by the left to undermine the court."