(ReliableNews.org) – In April, The New York Times wrote a piece about an interview between a law professor, John Yoo, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that took place soon after the Roe v. Wade leaked draft opinion. During that discussion, the interviewer mentioned how conservative real estate billionaire Harlan Crow didn’t like public praise. Thomas responded that he wouldn’t praise the man in public because he wanted to “keep that friendship.”
That comment recently raised eyebrows when reports revealed that Thomas allegedly received gifts from the Republican megadonor. Now, the Senate Judiciary Committee wants more details about the relationship between the two men.
A Request for Details
On May 8, committee members sent Crow a letter stating that Thomas failed to disclose many of the gifts allegedly given to him by the megadonor, so they want a detailed list of the transactions. The legislators mentioned investigative reporting revealed Thomas received travel and other luxury items from the billionaire and that Crow had purchased real estate from him. In fact, they said Crow publicly acknowledged such gifting took place.
As such, the committee requested the GOP donor provide an itemized and dated account of any gifts, items, or payments greater than $415 given by either himself or his entities. The lawmakers also want information on any real estate transactions, transportation, lodging, and private or members-only club entrances provided to Thomas or his family included on the list.
Crow has until May 22 to compile the data and submit it to the committee for evaluation to ensure Thomas didn’t violate any ethics principles. Eleven Senate Democrats signed the letter, but no Republicans in the Upper Chamber joined them in their efforts.
Ethical Requirements and Other Requests
The recent letter was not the first of its kind. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Crow in April, requesting a gift list — the billionaire refused to comply. Wyden said the refusal was not surprising, but he was disappointed that Crow wouldn’t cooperate.
Two months ago, The Washington Post reported the Supreme Court tightened up its rules about disclosing gifts, trips, and meals provided to the justices. US Code 7353 states that officials from the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government must file a form every year detailing their finances. According to the code, judges cannot accept gifts from anyone who appears before them in court. The Post said the law was ambiguous when it came to “personal hospitality,” but the new ethical guidelines adopted in March cleared up the confusion.
It’s unclear whether or not Crow will comply with the committee’s most recent request.
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