Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Trip With Billionaire With Business Before The Court
In July 2008, Alito took a $100,000 jet ride that was chartered by Singer to Alaska. The men, accompanied by other travelers, stayed in a luxury fishing lodge that charged more than $1,000 a day.
Alito did not report the trip on his annual financial disclosure, which each Supreme Court Justice is required to turn in every year and outlines any gifts or compensations that they received, along with any activities that they engaged in outside of the courtroom. By failing to disclose the private jet that Singer chartered, Alito may have violated the federal laws attached to the reports.
In years following the fishing trip, Singer’s hedge fund came before the court at least 10 times. In 2014, Alito voted with a 7-1 majority in Singer’s favor over a long battle between the company and the nation of Argentina. The hedge fund was awarded $2.4 billion.
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Now, ProPublica, a nonprofit organization, is examining Alito and Singer’s relationship using e-mails, records of Alaska fishing licenses, and testimonies from people who accompanied the men in Alaska to confirm the expenses.
On Tuesday, Alito published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal addressing the allegations that he violated federal laws and wrongfully ruled in the case concerning Singer’s company.
In his op-ed, Alito claimed that he and Singer spoke “on no more than a handful of occasions,” noting the “small talk” that occurred on the 2008 fishing trip. Alito also claimed that he felt no need to recuse himself from the Supreme Court cases involving Singer’s company.
“On no occasion have we discussed the activities of his businesses, and we have never talked about any case or issue before the court,” Alito wrote.
Regarding the private jet, Alito wrote that Singer simply allowed him to fill a seat that would have otherwise been “unoccupied,” and that he was not aware of his requirement to disclose this instance on the annual report.
A spokesperson for Singer told ProPublica that he did not organize the trip and that he was not aware that Alito was even coming until he boarded the plane.
Alito is not the first Supreme Court Justice accused of falsifying his annual financial disclosure. This spring, Justice Clarence Thomas failed to note travel accommodations gifted to him by real estate mogul Harlan Crow and was given an extension on the report.
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