Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
A friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is pushing back against a new report that claims a wealthy Republican donor paid for the private school tuition of the justice’s grandnephew.
During the presidency of Donald Trump, Mark Paoletta was general counsel to the Office of Management and Budget and before that, served as chief counsel to then-Vice President Mike Pence. He’s also a friend of Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, whom he has represented as a lawyer.
Paoletta responded on May 4 to a ProPublica article published hours earlier that detailed how billionaire Harlan Crow’s company paid the private school tuition of Thomas’s grandnephew, Mark Martin, whom the justice took custody of when he was 6 years old and was raising like a son. The exact amount paid over four years at two schools was unclear but the article said it could be upwards of $150,000.
Paoletta disputes that estimate, saying Crow only covered the first year of tuition at each school.
In a nearly 600-word statement about Martin and the tuition payments, Paoletta wrote on his Twitter account that the Thomases had, beginning in 1997, “devoted twelve years of their lives to helping a beloved child in desperate need of love, support, and guidance.
“They agreed to take in this young child much as Justice Thomas’s grandparents had done for him and his brother in 1955.
“Justice Thomas and his wife made immeasurable personal and financial sacrifices and poured every ounce of their lives and hearts into giving their great nephew a chance to succeed.”
When the Thomases were trying to find a school where they could send Martin, Crow recommended Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, which he had attended. Crow also had funded scholarship programs for disadvantaged students at the school for decades, Paoletta wrote.
Crow paid only for Martin’s first year at Randolph-Macon and when Martin transferred to another school in Georgia, Crow paid for the first year at that school as well, Paoletta wrote.
“The Thomases love their great nephew. It is despicable that the press has dragged him into their effort to smear Justice Thomas. This story is another attempt to manufacture a scandal about Justice Thomas. But let’s be clear about what is supposedly scandalous now: Justice Thomas and his wife devoted twelve years of their lives to taking in and caring for a beloved child—who was not their own—just as Justice Thomas’s grandparents had done for him.
“They made many personal and financial sacrifices to do this. And along the way, their friends joined them in doing everything possible to give this child a future. Harlan Crow’s tuition payments made directly to these schools on behalf of Justice Thomas’s great nephew did not constitute a reportable gift.”
The federal Ethics in Government Act didn’t require that the tuition payments be publicly disclosed “because the definition of a ‘dependent child’ under the Ethics in Government Act (5 U.S.C. 13101 (2)) does not include a ‘great nephew,’” Paoletta wrote.
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