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I am writing to ask that you begin impeachment proceedings and urge the U.S. Justice Department to bring criminal charges against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for making false statements on his AO 10 Financial Disclosure forms since 1989 by falsely swearing under criminal penalty that his wife Virginia had no non-investment income. After Common Cause disclosed this on January 21, 2011, Protect Our Elections wrote to the Attorney General requesting criminal prosecution.

As a result, Justice Thomas publicly announced that he amended his financial disclosure forms from 1989 through 2009 to include his wife's income. These amended forms included forms that he filed as part of his judicial nomination process.

Virginia Thomas has received non-investment income since l989, and she worked at the Heritage Foundation from 2003 through 2009, earning at least $120,000 each year, according to the foundation's IRS Form 990s. She then went to work for Liberty Central in a paid position.

Each of the AO 10 Financial Disclosure forms signed by Justice Thomas from 2003 through 2007 states in Section IX that it is certified under oath as follows:

"I certify that all information given above (including information pertaining to my spouse and minor or dependent children, if any) is accurate, true, and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief, and that any information not reported was withheld because it met applicable statutory provisions permitting non-disclosure." (Emphasis added.)

In bold capital letters under the signature box that Justice Thomas signed is the following: NOTE: ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FALSIFIES OR FAILS TO FILE THIS REPORT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS (5 U.S.C. app section 104)

According to 5 U.S.C. app section 104, if charged, Justice Thomas could face up to one year in prison and a criminal fine for each false statement charge, and a civil fine of up to $50,000. Moreover, under the catchall false statement statute, 18 U.S.C. section 1001, Justice Thomas could also face a felony charge for each false statement with a sentence of five years on each.

Judges are presumed to know the law and, according to the Department of Justice Handbook on Prosecutions, a defendant's signature on a document can help establish willfulness and knowledge. See United States v. Tucker, 133 F.3d 1208, 1218 n. 11 (9th Cir. 1998) (noting that signature proved knowledge of contents of return); United States v. Mohney, 949 F.2d 1397, 1407 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding that signature is prima facie evidence that the signer knows the contents of the return); United States v. Drape, 668 F.2d 22, 26 (1st Cir. 1982) (finding that defendant's signature is sufficient to establish knowledge once it has been shown that the return was false).

Hundreds of Americans have been federally prosecuted since 1989 for various types of false statements, many involving checking or not checking a box on a form. Many of those prosecutions involved a single form, and most defendants were not given the opportunity to amend their forms before being prosecuted. Many were found guilty, fined and sent to prison. And some even appealed their cases to the Supreme Court where Justice Thomas sat in judgment of them, upholding their sentences.

Justice Thomas must be held accountable just as were these hundreds of others. This is a matter of justice, rule of law, and equal treatment. People in positions of power cannot be allowed to violate the law, get caught, and get away by merely writing a letter explaining their conduct as an inadvertent misunderstanding. In fact, President Clinton was forced to face impeachment after he was accused of making false statements.

One of the reasons for robust judicial disclosure laws is so litigants can use the information disclosed to decide whether or not to file a motion to disqualify the judge on the basis of a conflict of interest. Clearly, Justice Thomas' failure to disclose his spouse's income for twenty years deprived thousands of litigants who came before him of their right to ask that he disqualify himself from their cases. This fact underscores the harm done by his conduct.

Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, demand an audit of all cases reviewed by Justice Thomas to determine if his failure to disclose affected them, and urge the Department of Justice to investigate and bring charges against him.

We are a nation of laws and no one is above those laws, not even those on the Supreme Court. In fact, on the front of the Supreme Court are these words carved in stone: "Equal Justice Under Law."

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