Justice Samuel Alito Hits ‘Misleading’ ProPublica Report

Justice Samuel Alito of the Supreme Court has refuted claims that he did not act properly in cases associated with a tycoon’s hedge fund and that he omitted certain items from his financial disclosure, stating that these allegations are “unfounded.”

In a commentary published in The Wall Street Journal, Alito responded to ProPublica’s accusations. The organization contended that Alito should have stepped aside from proceedings related to enterprises linked with Paul Singer’s hedge fund due to a trip he had taken on Singer’s private jet to a luxury fishing lodge in Alaska.

“I was under no obligation to recuse myself in any of the cases ProPublica referred to,” Alito stated in his commentary on Tuesday. “Initially, even if I had been cognizant of Mr. Singer’s involvement with the organizations in question, it would not have necessitated or justified my recusal.

“ProPublica asserts that my failure to withdraw from these cases gave rise to an impression of impropriety, but this is an incorrect assumption.”

Alito justified his ability to impartially fulfill his duties despite his acquaintance with Singer.

“As far as I can recall, I have conversed with Mr. Singer only a few times, all of which (apart from casual chatter during a fishing expedition 15 years prior) consisted of brief, informal remarks at large gatherings,” Alito penned.

“We have never discussed his business operations, nor have we ever conversed about any case or issue under the Court’s purview.”

The justice also mentioned that when he was scrutinizing the cases in question to decide whether he needed to recuse himself, “I was neither aware nor had any justifiable reason to suspect that Mr. Singer had a stake in any party.”

“Mr. Singer was not listed as a party in any of the cases ProPublica has mentioned,” Alito wrote. “Additionally, his name was not featured in any of the corporate disclosure statements or the certiorari petitions or opposing briefs to certiorari.”

Alito explained his failure to disclose the seat on the flight to Alaska or the lodging provided by the fishing lodge owner was consistent with the financial disclosure regulations of the time.

“From the time I was appointed to the Court up until the recent revision of the filing guidelines, justices frequently interpreted the ‘hospitality’ clause to imply that accommodations and travel for social events were not gifts to be reported,” Alito wrote.

“On only one occasion, the flight to Alaska, have I accepted transportation for a strictly social event, and in doing so, I adhered to what I understood to be the norm.”

Alito noted that “ProPublica’s description of the lodge, which has since been sold and renovated after my visit 15 years ago, is misleading, as indicated by photos and information on the lodge’s website.”

He further added that, to his knowledge, his seat on the flight to Alaska “would have remained empty” and did not inflict any additional cost on Singer.

“Had I opted for commercial flights, it would have placed a significant burden and inconvenience on the deputy U.S. Marshals who would have been obligated to accompany me for security purposes,” Alito wrote.