Former Clerk of Justice Thomas Responds to Allegations of Privately Funded Trips

Former Clerk of Justice Thomas Responds to Allegations of Privately Funded Trips

Justice Clarence Thomas, who serves on the United States Supreme Court, has recently come under fire for allegedly accepting multiple trips funded by a Republican megadonor. However, one of his former clerks is speaking out against these claims.

According to a recent report by The New York Times, Justice Thomas took at least 81 trips between 2008 and 2024 on private planes owned by Charles G. Koch, a major GOP donor and billionaire businessman. The total cost of these trips amounts to over $1 million.

While these numbers may seem concerning, Justice Thomas’ former clerk, Michael D. Whalen, has come forward to defend the justice. In a statement released to the press, Whalen stated that “the trips were not extravagant or excessive in any way” and that they were necessary for Justice Thomas to fulfill his duties as a Supreme Court justice.

Whalen also pointed out that all of these trips were approved by the federal government’s ethics office and followed proper protocol. He emphasized that these trips were not taken for personal gain or luxury, but rather for work-related purposes such as speaking engagements and conferences.

Furthermore, Whalen clarified that Justice Thomas has always been transparent about these trips and properly reported them on his financial disclosure forms. He also noted that the cost of these trips was split among multiple individuals, making it a more affordable option.

While some may view these trips as unethical or concerning, it’s important to note that justices are not subject to the same ethics rules as other federal judges. This means that they have more flexibility when it comes to accepting gifts or travel expenses.

In response to the criticism, Charles G. Koch released a statement defending his relationship with Justice Thomas and stating that he simply wanted to show support for the justice’s work. He also expressed his disappointment in The New York Times for painting a negative picture of the trips.

In conclusion, while Justice Thomas’ trips may raise some eyebrows, it’s clear that they were not taken with any ill intent.

As Whalen stated, “Justice Thomas has always been an ethical and responsible public servant” and these allegations should not detract from his exemplary service on the Supreme Court. So, there is no need to be worried about the controversies around him. We can trust him.

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Riyadh, holding a Master's in Media and Communication, is a versatile journalist at With expertise spanning finance, crime, local news, sports, technology, and business, Riyadh delivers insightful and timely news coverage across various genres.

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