WASHINGTON – An attorney for Republican donor Harlan Crowe has told Senate Judiciary Democrats that the billionaire businessman will not give them information about his relationship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Michael D. Bopp, Crowe’s attorney, said in a letter Monday to Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that he believes the committee has “power to investigate Mr. Crowe’s personal friendship with Justice Clarence Thomas.” has no right.”
“Congress does not have the constitutional power to impose rules and standards of ethics on the Supreme Court,” Bopp wrote. “To do so would exceed Congress’s Article I authority and violate basic separation of powers principles. It prevents the committee from conducting investigations in support of such legislation.”
In response, Durbin issued a statement saying that the letter “does not provide a credible justification for its failure to respond to the Committee’s written questions from Mr. Crowe and the three corporate entities.”
“The committee will respond to this letter more fully in short order, and will respond concretely to our information requests to prepare and advance the targeted ethics legislation needed to help restore confidence in the Supreme Court,” Durbin said. Will continue to demand.” a statement. “As I have said many times before: The Chief Justice has the power to establish a credible, enforceable code of conduct for the Court today. However, if the Court will not act, this committee will.”
Bopp’s reasoning for not complying with the committee echoed what he told the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month. The panel requested a list of gifts that Crowe had given Thomas, but Bopp argued that the committee lacked a legislative purpose in requesting such a list.
He noted that “the Supreme Court has clearly stated that Congress has no authority to engage in law enforcement investigations or investigations for the purpose of uncovering private matters of citizens.”
Durbin and other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee asked Crowe to provide a detailed list of gifts, worth more than $415, that he had given to Thomas or any other judges or members of their families. They also asked Crowe to provide a full list of real estate transactions, transportation, housing and admission to private clubs that he may have provided.
Thomas has been criticized over allegations reported by ProPublica that he failed to properly disclose visits and gifts paid for by Crowe. Sale of properties of Thomas and his relatives to Crowe, and the tuition that Crowe paid for a relative of Justice.
Thomas said after ProPublica’s reports that he was advised that the visits and gifts were “personal hospitality from close personal friends” and did not need to be reported in the disclosure.