Justice Clarence Thomas and the Plague of Bad Reporting

ProPublica’s big scoop turned out to be a quarter-teaspoon. In an error-filled report last week, the opinionated news site got one point right: Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t disclose the 2014 sale of his one-third interest in three Savannah, Ga., properties to a company controlled by his friend Harlan Crow. He was legally required to do so. On these pages, in an article published online Sunday, I observed that he may have to amend his financial-disclosure form for that year.

On Monday, “a source close to Thomas” told CNN that the justice would do so. “The source said . . . it was an oversight not to report the real estate transaction. Thomas believed he didn’t have to disclose because he lost money on the deal, according to the source.” It is the justice’s share of the sale price ($1,000 or more), not a profit, that triggers the statutory obligation to report.



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