Senate Democrats intend to subpoena billionaire Harlan Crow, conservative activist Leonard Leo and mortgage company owner Robin Arkley II as the next step in their Supreme Court ethics probe.
The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Monday night that it would vote on the subpoenas, a substantial escalation from letters Democrats initially sent to the three individuals requesting information. Multiple ProPublica reports this year have detailed expense-paid trips and other gifts Crow gave to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, along with a fishing trip Justice Samuel Alito attended that Arkley provided lodging for and Leo arranged.
“Thanks to investigative reporting, we now know that for decades, some justices have been joining billionaires with business before the Court on their private planes and yachts or receiving gifts such as private school tuition for a family member,” Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said in a statement Monday. “Due to Crow, Leo, and Arkley’s intransigence, the Committee is now forced to seek compulsory process to obtain the information they hold.”
BREAKING: the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on subpoenas for Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley II – the next step in its Supreme Court ethics investigation.
— Senate Judiciary Committee (@JudiciaryDems) October 30, 2023
ProPublica’s top donors also fund a number of the activist groups that called on Thomas to resign or be investigated, a Daily Caller News Foundation review of tax documents revealed. Additionally, a majority of the ethics experts cited by the outlet in stories alleging justices committed ethics violations have donated to Democrat campaigns and left-wing causes.
“It’s disappointing that one party on the Committee would choose to pursue an unnecessary, partisan, and politically motivated subpoena instead of simply reciprocating Mr. Crow’s good faith efforts at a reasonable compromise that respects both sides,” the office of Harlan Crow said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Crow’s office notes that he has already offered “extensive information” based on prior requests and that the ethics legislation that is the premise for the request has already been passed by the committee. The committee advanced Whitehouse’s Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act in July on a 11-10 party line vote.
Crow’s lawyers have maintained that the committee lacks a “valid legislative purpose” for its investigation. Judiciary Committee Democrats sent their first letter to Crow seeking information about all gifts he has provided in May.
“It’s clear this is nothing more than a stunt aimed at undermining a sitting Supreme Court Justice for ideological and political purposes,” the statement continued. “Mr. Crow, a private citizen, won’t be bullied by threats from politicians. However, as previously conveyed to the Committee, we remain committed to respectful cooperation and a fair resolution.”
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