Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski, reporting:
In 2008, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decided to send his teenage grandnephew to Hidden Lake Academy, a private boarding school in the foothills of northern Georgia. The boy, Mark Martin, was far from home. For the previous decade, he had lived with the justice and his wife in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Thomas had taken legal custody of Martin when he was 6 years old and had recently told an interviewer he was “raising him as a son.”
Tuition at the boarding school ran more than $6,000 a month. But Thomas did not cover the bill. A bank statement for the school from July 2009, buried in unrelated court filings, shows the source of Martin’s tuition payment for that month: the company of billionaire real estate magnate Harlan Crow. […]
“You can’t be having secret financial arrangements,” said Mark W. Bennett, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton. Bennett said he was friendly with Thomas and declined to comment for the record about the specifics of Thomas’ actions. But he said that when he was on the bench, he wouldn’t let his lawyer friends buy him lunch. […]
“This is way outside the norm. This is way in excess of anything I’ve seen,” said Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, referring to the cascade of gifts over the years.
Painter said that when he was at the White House, an official who’d taken what Thomas had would have been fired: “This amount of undisclosed gifts? You’d want to get them out of the government.”
Time for Thomas to go.