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Tipsheet

Should AOC Be Removed From Congress?

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

I pose that question based not upon my standards, but hers.  Given the attention being paid to the expulsion of lawmakers over the last week -- my overall thoughts on the Tennessee kerfuffle are here and here -- it's a relevant topic these days.  Many on the Left have been hyping a ProPublica report that leaves a distinct impression of unethical impropriety on the part of US Supreme Court Clarence Thomas, whom they've been smearing since his confirmation hearings decades ago.  At The Federalist, David Harsanyi assesses the allegations:

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[In the story], we learn that the Supreme Court justice has a super-rich friend. And that super-rich friend, GOP donor Harlan Crow, invites Thomas on “luxury” vacations from time to time at his “private resort,” “sprawling ranch,” “all-male retreat,” and on his “superyacht.” As all the adjectives strongly suggest, all of it is very upscale. Most of the luxury vacations that happen “virtually every year,” it seems, have Clarence and Ginni Thomas spending “about a week” during the summer as guests at one of Crow’s resorts in the Adirondacks...The internet has “exploded” with comments from the usual suspects mischaracterizing the trips as bribes, though everything reported by ProPublica is completely legal and unrelated to Thomas’ work on the court...

Thomas has zero legal obligation to disclose where he goes on vacation to journalists or anyone else — whether they are “luxury” trips or not. The idea that Thomas is secretly engaging in these activities because he fails to provide the editors at ProPublica or The New York Times with his itinerary is beyond preposterous. The only even debatable part of the disclosures would be his failure to report private flights as transportation expenses. (A genuine piece of journalism would have investigated the practices of all justices on this front.) But the idea, as one “expert” claims in the piece, that spending time on a friend’s yacht should be reported as transportation, rather than a vacation, is also nonsensical. While the purpose of ProPublica’s piece is to frame all this as unethical, it offers not a single substantive instance of anything remotely approaching a conflict of interest. No cases involving Harlan Crow have ever reached Thomas. And there are no examples of Thomas having changed his positions to accommodate anyone.

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One of those 'usual suspects' is the easily-excitable and perpetually outraged Democratic Congresswoman from New York, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Having read the ProPublica story, or perhaps just tweets about it, she decided that its subject must be impeached and removed from the Court. It didn't matter that, as others have noted, "Thomas was not required to disclose the gifts under the rules at the time." AOC was absolutely certain -- and she's never anything other than absolutely certain -- that Justice Thomas must go:

It is very special to watch this person wrap her nakedly political and partisan attacks as somehow transcending  "party or partisanship," just before she uncorks an unhinged political attack on the Court as a whole.  She doesn't know the details or the rules in question.  She doesn't need to know.  This is about assailing the credibility of a Supreme Court whose ideological composition stands in the way of her tribe's designs on full power and control.  We see this same destructive impulse in other forms, as well.  From the Left, it's endless.  If we were playing by AOC's rules, we might suggest that her rant against one of the only Black justices in US history could be motivated by racial animus.  Whether there's any evidence for such a slander is immaterial, of course.  But on the subject of how certain 'rules' of politics are applied, shouldn't we revisit our headline's question?  After all, AOC is currently under a Congressional ethics investigation, and some of the details don't look good for her:

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What is there to say beyond, "this degree of corruption is shocking - almost cartoonish. Ocasio-Cortez must be expelled."  Also, "this is beyond party or partisanship."  Will she resign?  Or is it possible that this is all just a misunderstanding and the Congressional Ethics Office simply wants to date her?  For anyone interested in the facts of l'affair Thomas, here's the justice's statement on the matter, with some additional context from CBS News:

In his statement Friday, Thomas said the Crows "are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years," and that he and his wife "have joined them on a number of family trips." He wrote that he had consulted with "colleagues and others in the judiciary" earlier in his career, who "advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable." "I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines," Thomas said. "These guidelines are now being changed, as the committee of the Judicial Conference responsible for financial disclosure for the entire federal judiciary just this past month announced new guidance. And, it is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future."  The change in guidelines was adopted in March by the Judicial Conference, the body that sets policy for the federal courts. Under the law, all federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, are required to file financial disclosure forms disclosing outside income, gifts and other information. Gifts considered "personal hospitality," however, are not required to be reported. The new requirements clarified the definition of that exemption...

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I'll leave you with another one of the deranged 'usual suspects' using the occasion of this bogus scandal to disgusting smear Thomas' wealthy friend as a "Nazi sympathizer" because of this. There is no low to which they will not stoop:

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