New revelations show how billionaire benefactor helped fund the lives of Thomas and family

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, new reporting revealed that billionaire GOP megadonor Harlan Crow paid for private school for a relative that Justice Clarence Thomas said he was raising “as a son,” an arrangement a top ethics lawyer called “way outside the norm.” Following bombshell news uncovering decades-worth of undisclosed lavish gifts and travel, this new revelation helps to paint a fuller picture of the many ways Harlan Crow has helped fund the lives of Justice Thomas and his family.

Billionaire benefactor Harlan Crow didn’t just bankroll Thomas’s luxury travel, his mother’s house, and his wife’s job — he also covered his kid’s private school tuition, which he conveniently didn’t disclose. Over decades, these two have maintained a highly problematic financial relationship that has facilitated what looks like corruption at the highest levels. Meanwhile, Chief Justice Roberts has completely dodged responsibility by refusing to take action while the Court’s legitimacy crisis grows. We need urgent reform to restore public trust in our Court.”

Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig.

ProPublica highlights:

“ProPublica interviewed Martin, his former classmates and former staff at both schools. The exact total Crow paid for Martin’s education over the years remains unclear. If he paid for all four years at the two schools, the price tag could have exceeded $150,000, according to public records of tuition rates at the schools.

Thomas did not report the tuition payments from Crow on his annual financial disclosures. Several years earlier, Thomas disclosed a gift of $5,000 for Martin’s education from another friend. It is not clear why he reported that payment but not Crow’s.

The tuition payments add to the picture of how the Republican megadonor has helped fund the lives of Thomas and his family.”

“This is way outside the norm. This is way in excess of anything I’ve seen,” said Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, referring to the cascade of gifts over the years.

Painter said that when he was at the White House, an official who’d taken what Thomas had would have been fired: “This amount of undisclosed gifts? You’d want to get them out of the government.””

The news comes on the heels of a long pattern of serious Supreme Court ethics issues. Accountable.US has repeatedly called for action in the aftermath of the unprecedented ethics issues undermining the integrity of our nation’s highest court.


back to top