May 09,2023

Wyden Statement on Harlan Crow Stonewalling Committee Inquiry

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued the following statement in response to the letter he received from an attorney representing billionaire Republican activist Harlan Crow:

“I was disappointed but unsurprised by billionaire Republican activist Harlan Crow’s refusal to respond to my questions about the gifts he’s lavished on Justice Clarence Thomas and his family over the bulk of Thomas’s tenure on the Supreme Court. Mr. Crow is relying on the same baseless arguments that failed Donald Trump in his attempt to stonewall Congressional oversight. I have used my Chairmanship of the committee to shine a bright light on tax schemes undertaken by the ultra-wealthy, including untaxed transfers of wealth. The assertion that the Finance Committee lacks a legislative basis for an investigation of the abuse of gift taxes by the wealthy is simply preposterous.

“In fact Mr. Crow takes this position to an even more absurd level. He implies that the specter of public corruption created by his own unreported gifts to Justice Thomas somehow insulates the details of those gifts from Congressional investigation. This argument is, on its face, a joke. 

“In reality, it’s obvious that Congress needs to evaluate compliance with the gift tax, and as Americans learn more about Crow’s largesse toward Justice Thomas, there’s a strong argument for stiffening reporting requirements for gifts given to public officials.

“The bottom line is that nobody can expect to get away with waving off Finance Committee oversight, no matter how wealthy or well-connected they may be. I will send a full response to Mr. Crow’s attorney in the coming days. I’m also going to discuss with my committee colleagues how best to compel answers to the questions I put forward last month, including by using any of the tools at our disposal.”