Richard Nixon solicited under-the-table private money, accepted amounts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars; it’s possible Clarence Thomas had have done something similar. Nixon failed to report these bribe payments on required Federal forms, while Thomas failed to report payments made to his wife. The amounts are not trivial: approximately $205,000 to Nixon in one bribery sequence in the 1960s; the amount paid to Thomas’ wife was $686,589 during the 2000s.

The Nixon bribe was spent to purchase a 9,000 square foot Tudor in northwest Washington. In today’s dollars that home would be valued on the high side of $1,000,000. This bribe money was siphoned in through intermediaries, including Nixon’s brother. Nixon failed to report this illegal income on his Federal tax returns or on any financial disclosure statement.

This bribe was arranged through a personal appeal from Nixon to Howard Hughes. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars going to Hughes Aircraft at the time, later Hughes Aerospace, the bribe was a cost of business.

It’s possible that a similar bribe may have been channeled to Justice Thomas through his wife by way of Heritage Foundation. That organization has been a play thing for the Coors family, famed for making beer and supporting Far Right causes. (Pro-democracy folk do not have to drink Coors.)

One can assume that income taxes were paid on this Thomas bribe money. However, over a period of years, Associate Justice Thomas participated in scores of cases before the Supreme Court where Heritage Foundation personnel published legal papers and filed amicus briefs.

I can find no example where Thomas recused himself from a case. The Heritage angels’ money notwithstanding. Yet Heritage personnel filed amicus briefs in scores of cases as well as publishing a large number of articles and books relevant to these issues.

Monday, June 8th, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court decided Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal, holding that the federal Due Process Clause required an extraordinarily enriched Justice Benjamin to recuse himself. The majority was written by Justice Kennedy.

Hidden money becomes hidden for a reason.

As soon as Caperton reached the docket, scrambling ensued to get Thomas’s angel-money moved away from Heritage.

“Bribery” is more to the point and a possibility for consideration.

A hidden payment is a bribe under 18 U.S.C. § 201 : US Code – Section 201: Bribery of public officials and witnesses.

– The bribe does not have to be paid directly to the public official.

– Judges are included.

– Heritage Foundation was an interested party in any number of cases before SCOTUS as evidenced by amicus briefs filed by their personnel and scores of published articles addressing merits of pending cases.

The statute is clear:

(a) For the purpose of this section –
(1) the term “public official” means Member of Congress,
Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, either before or after such
official has qualified, or an officer or employee or person
acting for or on behalf of the United States, or any department,
agency or branch of Government thereof, including the District of
Columbia, in any official function, under or by authority of any
such department, agency, or branch of Government, or a juror;
(2) the term “person who has been selected to be a public
official” means any person who has been nominated or appointed to
be a public official, or has been officially informed that such
person will be so nominated or appointed; and
(3) the term “official act” means any decision or action on any
question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy, which
may at any time be pending, or which may by law be brought before
any public official, in such official’s official capacity, or in
such official’s place of trust or profit. …


(b) Whoever –
(1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises
anything of value to any public official or person who has been
selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any
public official or any person who has been selected to be a
public official to give anything of value to any other person or
entity, with intent –
(A) to influence any official act… etc.


And on the part of the judge:

(2) being a public official or person selected to be a public
official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks,
receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of
value personally or for any other person or entity, in return
(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;
(B) being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to
collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the
commission of any fraud, on the United States; or
(C) being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of
the official duty of such official or person;… etc.


Nixon was never charged criminally with taking the Howard Hughes bribe. The news item came out in the final days of the 1960 presidential campaign, though. It made a difference.

We will see about Clarence Thomas.

The one strongest move at this point to strengthen Rule of Law would be for AG Holder to appoint Patrick Fitzgerald to a second round as Special Prosecutor to investigate this situation. For example, we know that Nixon called on the phone and asked Hughes for his $205,000 bribe. Who asked Heritage to set up this  $686,589 payment stream and who financed it ?

Bribery is bribery.

On the other hand: Sin Is OK If You’re A Republican ? — SIOKIYAR, pronounced show-ka-yar.

Time to end that.