Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has admitted that he and his wife have accepted lavish gifts and benefits from Harlan Crow, the Republican billionaire who collects Nazi memorabilia, including a signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Crow, who also owns a garden featuring the statues of brutal dictators, said he collects such items because because he hates communism and fascism, the Washingtonian reported.
Additionally, Crow owns signed original documents from former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.
According to the New York Post, Thomas said on Friday that he and his wife, conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, took trips on Crow’s superyacht and private plane for more than 20 years. Thomas also received a portrait by Montreal-based illustrator Sharif Tarabay and a $19,000 Bible that belonged to abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
“Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over twenty-five years. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter century we have known them,” Thomas said in a statement issued by the high court according to The Post.
The conservative justice also said he sought guidance from his colleagues and others in the judiciary earlier in his career and “was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”
In 1978, a post-Watergate law required government officials to disclose a report on their finances every year. The law, however, changed in March. According to the current guidelines, justices must disclose gifts and free stays at commercial properties or when gifts of hospitality are being reimbursed by a third party who is not the person providing it.