Trump aligned watchdog group files ethics complaint against Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson over 'willful' failure to disclose income and gifts

 December 20, 2023

Democrats and their partisan media allies have spent much of the year attempting to stir up ethics controversies and scandals involving the conservative justices of the Supreme Court to discredit them in the public eye.

That game goes both ways, though, and a conservative watchdog group just filed an ethics complaint against liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, according to the Washington Examiner.

The complaint alleges "willful" violations of federal law and ethics disclosure requirements on the part of Jackson by way of her repeated failure to disclose certain income received by her husband as well as a failure to report certain "gifts" she has received, and called for a formal criminal investigation of the matter.

The federal statutes in question

Fox News reported that the ethics complaint against Justice Jackson was filed by the Center for Renewing America, an America First-aligned conservative think tank headed up by Russ Vought, who previously served as head of the Office of Management and Budget in former President Donald Trump's White House, and included at least two apparent violations of disclosure requirements in federal statutes codified as part of 1978's Ethics in Government Act.

One of those statutes is 5 U.S.C. § 13104(e)(1)(A), which requires the disclosure of "The source of items of earned income earned by a spouse from any person which exceed $1,000 ... except that ... if the spouse is self-employed in business or a profession, only the nature of such business or profession need be reported."

The other statute is 5 U.S.C. § 13104(a)(2)(A), which requires disclosure of "The identity of the source, a brief description, and the value of all gifts aggregating more than the minimal value" of $415 that were received from "any source other than a relative" and with exceptions for "any food, lodging, or entertainment received as personal hospitality" or items valued at less than $100 that don't need to be included in the annual aggregate.

Given the alleged violations of those two statutes by Justice Jackson, the ethics complaint pointed to 5 U.S.C. § 13106(b), which calls for a criminal referral to the U.S. attorney general if there is "reasonable cause to believe" the referred individual "has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported."

Jackson's alleged "willful" failures to disclose

On Monday, CRA's Vought sent a letter to the Judicial Conference and stated that "Justice Jackson appears to have willfully failed to disclose required information regarding her husband’s medical malpractice consulting income for over a decade," as well as that "there is reason to believe that Justice Jackson may have failed to report the private funding sources of her massive investiture celebration at the Library of Congress in her most recent financial disclosure."

"The Conference should open an investigation to determine if Justice Jackson needs to remedy this potential omission," Vought wrote. "Given the need to ensure the equal application of the law and the tendency of these violations to create serious recusal issues and conflicts of interest, the Conference’s prompt attention is of paramount public importance."

The letter went on to lay out how Jackson had initially complied with the disclosure requirements when she became a federal judge in 2012 and reported her husband's medical malpractice consulting fees income from 2011 but has since failed to similarly disclose any such income in subsequent annual filings -- which Jackson herself acknowledged during her Senate confirmation hearings in 2022 when she was nominated to the Supreme Court.

The letter also raised concerns about Jackson's failure to disclose who paid for the privately-funded celebration of her confirmation that was hosted by the Library of Congress and featured a lineup of "several musical performances" plus "food, entertainment, venue fees, and staff" that all constituted a "gift" valued at more than $415 under the law, and therefore must be publicly disclosed.

Jackson should be referred for criminal prosecution

"Justice Jackson has demonstrated a disturbing trend of not reporting material sources of income and gifts," Vought wrote in conclusion. "As described above, she has failed to report the years in which her husband has received income for his medical malpractice consulting, a blatant violation of EIGA. And she continues to fail to report the sources of her husband’s legal consultation income."

"Moreover, she has potentially failed to disclose private funders of her unprecedented investiture celebration," he continued. "By doing so, Justice Jackson has shielded potential conflicts of interest from public scrutiny and undermined the ability of the public, outside watchdog groups, and parties to scrutinize her recusal decisions."

"Given the risk for these potentially willful omissions to create conflicts of interest and recusal issues, and the need to ensure equal application of the law, the Conference should refer Justice Jackson to the Attorney General for her failure to disclose her husband’s consulting income and open an investigation into the potential private funding of her investiture celebration," Vought added.

Latest News

© 2024 - Patriot News Alerts