Senate panel seeks record of Harlan Crow presents to Clarence Thomas


Harlan Crow, chairman and chief executive officer of Crow Holdings LLC, sits for a photograph at the Outdated Parkland estate workplaces in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.

Chris Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Monday questioned GOP megadonor Harlan Crow for a complete list of gifts to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and evidence that the billionaire genuine estate developer complied with federal tax regulation in connection with the long-undisclosed largesse to Thomas.

“This unprecedented arrangement in between a rich benefactor and a Supreme Court justice raises major fears connected to federal tax and ethics legislation,”¬†Wyden, who heads the Senate Finance Committee, wrote in a six-page letter to Crow.

Wyden’s letter was despatched as Thomas and the Supreme Courtroom alone confront criticism pursuing an April 6 report by ProPublica that the CEO of Crow Holdings for far more than two many years has addressed the conservative justice to deluxe outings really worth at minimum hundreds of thousands of bucks.

ProPublica also noted on April 13 that a Crow firm in 2014 acquired 3 houses in Savannah, Ga, from Thomas and his family members, such as a house exactly where the justice’s mother has lived rent-absolutely free for far more than a ten years.

The gifted outings to Thomas and his spouse, Ginni, were to places this sort of as Indonesia, New Zealand and Greece, with travel on Crow’s non-public jet and 162-foot superyacht Michaela Rose.

Thomas experienced not disclosed any of the items from Crow, or the house purchases by him, right until they have been uncovered by ProPublica.

“The secrecy bordering your dealings with Justice Thomas is simply just unacceptable,” Wyden wrote in his letter to Crow.

“The American community justifies a whole accounting of the comprehensive extent of your largesse to Justice Thomas, including regardless of whether these items complied with all suitable federal tax and ethics rules,” he wrote.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., speaks in the course of a Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing on Feb. 23, 2021.

Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters

The letter asks for a checklist of all flights Thomas took on any of Crow’s jets, as very well as aspects of individuals visits. Wyden requested very similar aspects about the justice’s trips on the Michaela Rose and information and facts about the Georgia residence buys.

He concluded by crafting, “Be sure to checklist any extra gifts or payments with a value in excess of $1,000 produced to Justice Thomas or members of his relatives given that he was sworn into the Supreme Court docket that
would not be captured by” the prior thoughts.

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Wyden’s letter famous that federal tax legislation demands the giver of a reward to fork out any relevant tax.

“The IRS has long built very clear the gift tax applies to the transferor of a gift, together with in cases exactly where
the transferor supplies for the ‘use of property’ devoid of anticipating to receive anything of at
minimum equivalent benefit in return,” Wyden wrote.

In addition to asking Crow for proof linked to the possibility of gift taxes becoming owed by the business, Wyden questioned whether Crow claimed small business deductions or depreciation for his aircraft and yacht relevant to the outings by Thomas.

Wyden is the ranking Senate Democrat on Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.

Affiliate Supreme Court docket Justice Clarence Thomas arrives for the swearing-in ceremony of Judge Neil Gorsuch as an affiliate Supreme Court docket justice in the Rose Back garden of the White Property in Washington, April 10, 2017.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

A spokesman for Crow did not right away react to a ask for for comment from CNBC about Wyden’s letter. Thomas did not straight away react to a request for comment despatched to the Supreme Court’s media affairs workplace.

Very last 7 days, Sen. Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, invited Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to testify about ethics reform of the significant court.

Durbin’s letter to Roberts mentioned that “there has been a regular stream of revelations pertaining to Justices falling quick of the moral criteria anticipated of other federal judges.”

Roberts has yet to reply to that invitation, Durbin pointed out about the weekend.


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