Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito took a preemptive strike against the left-wing nonprofit ProPublica over what he asserts is “misleading” reporting it is set to publish.
According to an editor’s note attached to an op-ed he penned in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Alito received a series of questions from ProPublica journalists on Friday, giving him a deadline that lapsed earlier in the day.
“ProPublica has leveled two charges against me: first, that I should have recused in matters in which an entity connected with Paul Singer was a party and, second, that I was obligated to list certain items as gifts on my 2008 Financial Disclose Report. Neither charge is valid,” Alito began the op-ed.
Alito first addressed the recusal inquiry, insisting it “would not have been required or appropriate” despite any alleged ties to the businessman and GOP mega donor. He described his relationship with Singer as having spoken to him “no more than a handful of occasions” which mostly “consisted of brief and casual comments at events attended by large groups” (with the exception of a “fishing trip 15 years ago”) that avoided conversation about his businesses as well as any pending court cases. He also acknowledged the “two occasions” he was introduced by Singer at speaking engagements and the time he invited the justice to fill an “unoccupied seat on a private flight to Alaska.”
Alito then addressed the alleged “gift” he received, which he said fell under the category of “personal hospitality,” something that did not need to be reported according to guidelines as long as the hospitality was provided by an individual and their property and not from an organization or a corporation.
“This understanding of the requirement to report gifts reflected the expert judgment of the body that the Ethics in Government Act entrusts with the responsibility to administer compliance with the Act, see 5 U.S.C. App. §111(3),” Alito wrote. “When I joined the Court and until the recent amendment of the filing instructions, justices commonly interpreted this discussion of ‘hospitality’ to mean that accommodations and transportation for social events were not reportable gifts. The flight to Alaska was the only occasion when I have accepted transportation for a purely social event, and in doing so I followed what I understood to be standard practice.”
“As for the flight, Mr. Singer and others had already made arrangements to fly to Alaska when I was invited shortly before the event, and I was asked whether I would like to fly there in a seat that, as far as I am aware, would have otherwise been vacant. It was my understanding that this would not impose any extra cost on Mr. Singer. Had I taken commercial flights, that would have imposed a substantial cost and inconvenience on the deputy U.S. Marshals who would have been required for security reasons to assist me,” Alito added.
A spokesperson for ProPublica told Fox News Digital “We don’t comment on unpublished stories.”
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been the subject of scrutiny from ProPublica over alleged conflicts of interest. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)