Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of wife Virginia Thomas’s sources of income, documents released on Monday show.

The documents indicate that Thomas’s wife, who goes by Ginni, had worked for Hillsdale College in Michigan, the Heritage Foundation and the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, among other entities.

Like all federal judges, Thomas must file annual disclosure reports on his personal finances, but he had omitted details of his wife’s earnings in what he wrote was a “misunderstanding of the filing instructions.” He also had checked a box marking no spousal income.

Common Cause, which had revealed payments totaling $690,000 from the Heritage Foundation to Thomas' wife, said Thomas' explanation was implausible:

In a document stamped “self-initiated amendment,” Thomas wrote that the omissions were made as a result of a “misunderstanding of the filing instructions,” an excuse Common Cause finds difficult to believe.

On the form, Thomas had checked a box that stated “none” for spousal income.

“Justice Thomas sits on the highest court of the land, is called upon daily to understand and interpret the most complicated legal issues of our day and makes decisions that affect millions,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “It is hard to see how he could have misunderstood the simple directions of a federal disclosure form. We find his excuse is implausible.”

We also continue to be puzzled by omission of Liberty Central as Virginia Thomas’s most recent employer.

It's bad enough that Clarence Thomas' wife was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by conservative groups with an agenda before the Supreme Court, but the fact that he covered it up is extraordinary. This shouldn't be swept under the table -- there ought to be a formal, independent inquiry into Thomas' action, especially considering the questions about whether Koch Industries influenced his decision in Citizens United. If Clarence Thomas violated the public trust, he has no place on the Supreme Court -- he ought to be impeached and removed from office.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jan 25, 2011 at 07:20 AM PST.

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