Senate Democrats to subpoena Harlan Crow

Dallas real estate mogul under fire for gifts to Supreme Court justice

Senate to Subpoena Harlan Crow Over Gifts to Clarence Thomas
Harlan Crow (Getty, George W. Bush Presidential Center)

Senate Democrats are going after Dallas real estate scion Harlan Crow over his lavish gifts to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to subpoena Crow as well as Robin Arkley — another billionaire who’s made his fortune in the real estate industry — as he’s also been accused of similar gifts to Justice Samuel Alito, Axios reported

It’s “imperative that we understand the full extent of how people with interests before the Court are able to use undisclosed gifts to gain private access to the justices,” Committee Chair Dick Durbin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said in a statement.

The Crow-Thomas scandal erupted in April, when ProPublica broke the news that Crow has financed a number of luxury vacations on his private jet and megayacht over the course of decades, and Thomas and his wife, Ginni, were beneficiaries. However, Thomas didn’t disclose those trips, allegedly violating a law that requires justices to report gifts of $415 or higher.

Since then, other gifts from the former Crow Holdings CEO have come to light, including paid private school tuition for Thomas’ grandnephew and a Georgia home that he bought from the justice’s mother.

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In May, the committee requested detailed lists of gifts, travel and lodging from Crow, but his lawyers contested the committee’s authority to investigate his personal friendship with Justice Thomas. After months of back-and-forth, Crow’s team proposed providing limited information from the past five years, which Senate Democrats rejected as insufficient.

While Crow’s office criticized the subpoena as “unnecessary, partisan and politically motivated,” he’s also committed to “respectful cooperation and a fair resolution,” the outlet reported.

Crow previously said he would defy a Senate subpoena.

The move to subpoena these billionaires is as an effort to pressure Chief Justice John Roberts to institute a binding code of conduct for Supreme Court justices, something he has thus far resisted. The committee is expected to vote on the subpoenas as early as Nov. 9, as part of a broader push for increased transparency and ethical standards within the Supreme Court.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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Harlan Crow and Justice Clarence Thomas
Harlan Crow signals he’ll defy subpoena over Thomas gifts
From left: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S. Clarence Thomas, Crow Holdings' Harlan Crow, , Senator Richard J. Durbin and Senator Ron Wyden (Getty, George W. Bush Presidential Center)
Senate Democrats go after Harlan Crow
Harlan Crow and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Harlan Crow lavished Justice Clarence Thomas with gifts
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