Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ decadeslong friendship with real estate tycoon Harlan Crow and Samuel Alito’s luxury travel with billionaire Paul Singer have raised questions about influence and ethics at the nation's highest court.
Justice Samuel Alito Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court
In the years after the undisclosed trip to Alaska, Republican megadonor Paul Singer’s hedge fund has repeatedly had business before the Supreme Court. Alito has never recused himself.
Crow paid for private school for a relative Thomas said he was raising “as a son.” “This is way outside the norm,” said a former White House ethics lawyer.
The transaction is the first known instance of money flowing from Crow to the Supreme Court justice. The sale netted the GOP megadonor two vacant lots and the house where Thomas’ mother was living.
Island-hopping on a superyacht. Private jet rides around the world. The undisclosed gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the Supreme Court. “It’s incomprehensible to me that someone would do this,” says one former judge.
In lavishing gifts on the Supreme Court justice, the billionaire GOP donor may have violated tax laws, according to tax experts.
Senators Ask Billionaire Paul Singer and Power Broker Leonard Leo for Full Accounting of Gifts to Supreme Court Justices
The letters cite ProPublica’s reporting on an undisclosed private jet flight and Alaska fishing vacation provided to Justice Samuel Alito.
The Journal editorial page accused ProPublica of misleading readers in a story that hadn’t yet been published.
The lavish travel, real estate deal and tuition arrangements have set off a frenzy. Here’s where our reporting started and how we got the story.
Clarence Thomas’ Friend Acknowledges That Billionaire Harlan Crow Paid Tuition for the Child Thomas Was Raising “as a Son”
In response to ProPublica reporting, the friend said Crow covered two years of schooling for the teen, which would amount to roughly $100,000 of undisclosed gifts. Meanwhile, Democrats renewed calls for judicial ethics overhaul.
In pushing to kick-start an inquiry into Thomas’ lavish travel provided by a GOP megadonor, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center wrote that the ethics issue has “historic implications far beyond one Supreme Court justice.”
The lawmakers said the chief justice was duty-bound to conduct a “swift, thorough, independent and transparent investigation” of Thomas’ undisclosed travel with billionaire Harlan Crow in order to “safeguard public faith in the judiciary.”
In response to a ProPublica report, Thomas explained why he did not disclose lavish travel provided by billionaire Harlan Crow. But legal experts maintain the justice was required to make these disclosures.
Lawmakers Call for Investigation and Ethics Reforms in Response to ProPublica Report on Clarence Thomas
Influential Democratic legislators are pushing for changes at the Supreme Court and a probe into Thomas’ undisclosed luxury trips provided by powerful conservative donor Harlan Crow.