Thomas’ ties to Crow have prompted calls for Congress to investigate possible ethical lapses among the justices.
The report details Thomas accepting travel hospitality from Crow to take luxury trips to places such as Indonesia, New Zealand, California, Texas, and Georgia. In some instances, the justice reportedly traveled on Crow’s super yacht and private jet and stayed at properties owned by the conservative businessman.
Many of these trips weren’t disclosed in Thomas’ public ethics filings, with the exception of a trip on Crow’s jet in 1997.
In a statement to ProPublica, Crow said he’s been friends with the justice and his wife for over 30 years. The hospitality he extended to the couple was “no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends,” Crow added.
“Justice Thomas and Ginni never asked for any of this hospitality,” the megadonor said in the statement, noting that he “never asked about a pending or lower court case, and Justice Thomas has never discussed one.”
Crow, known to have deep connections in GOP politics, has doled out more than $10 million in publicly disclosed political contributions, per ProPublica.
On certain trips, Crow and Thomas were joined by executives of major corporations and heads of prominent conservative organizations, according to the report.
“I am unaware of any of our friends ever lobbying or seeking to influence Justice Thomas on any case, and I would never invite anyone who I believe had any intention of doing that. These are gatherings of friends,” Crow said in his statement.
In public filings, Thomas did disclose a $19,00 bible that was gifted to him by the Crow family. ProPublica reports that the Crows also gave the justice a portrait of himself and his wife. Crow’s foundation also reportedly donated $105,000 for a “Justice Thomas Portrait Fund” at Yale Law School, Thomas’ alma matter.
In his statement, Crow acknowledged that he’s made “contributions to projects celebrating the life and legacy of Justice Thomas, just as we have done with other great leaders and historically significant figures.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D) said in a statement that the report was “a call to action” and that “the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”