OAN Geraldyn Berry
2:28 PM – Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Republican donor, Harlan Crow, has rejected a congressional request made by Senate Democrats, to disclose details about travel and real estate deals with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Senate Democrats are trying to investigate therelationship between Harlan Crow, a Republican fundraiser who feted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with opulent trips and other gifts, and Justice Thomas.
Crow’s lawyer, Michael Bopp, had written a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
“We have serious concerns about the scope of and authority for this inquiry,” Bopp wrote. “As you are aware, the committee’s powers to investigate are not unlimited.”
The letter came as a response to Wyden’s request for further information regarding the donations, and whether they fall under the federal gift tax last month. The reply hinted that Crow would resist a congressional subpoena as well, stating that the legislature may only issue such demands for a “legitimate legislative purpose.”
“The timing of and context surrounding the Letter point to a different purpose,” Crow’s attorney wrote. “Given the Letter’s timing and focus, this inquiry appears to be a component of a broader campaign against Justice Thomas and, now, Mr. Crow, rather than an investigation that furthers a valid legislative purpose.”
The letter brought attention to the difficulties Democrats in Congress would have when trying to pass legislation in response to the ethics controversy playing out just across the street at the Supreme Court. Democrats are seeking additional details in the Thomas debate, but the majority of Republicans have dismissed the allegations.
The Senate Judiciary Committee invited Chief Justice John Roberts to speak, but he rejected. The court hasn’t said anything further save releasing a “statement of ethics principles and practices” that upheld present procedures.
The argument started after a slew of ProPublica articles published last month revealed the expensive excursions Thomas received from Crow, including ones that took him abroad. According to another claim, Crow purchased property from Thomas and his family. Crow also covered Thomas’s grandnephew’s tuition for private school.
“The assertion that the Finance Committee lacks a legislative basis for an investigation of the abuse of gift taxes by the wealthy is simply preposterous,” Wyden said in a statement Tuesday. “The bottom line is that nobody can expect to get away with waving off Finance Committee oversight, no matter how wealthy or well-connected they may be.”
Thomas last month stated in reaction to the first ProPublica revelation about the trip that he had been “advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the court, was not reportable.”
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