For months, Harlan Crow and members of Congress have been engaged in a fight over whether the billionaire needs to divulge details about his gifts to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, including globe-trotting trips aboard his 162-foot yacht, the Michaela Rose.
Crow’s lawyer argues that Congress has no authority to probe the GOP donor’s generosity and that doing so violates a constitutional separation of powers between Congress and the Supreme Court.
Members of Congress say there are federal tax laws underlying their interest and a known propensity by the ultrarich to use their yachts to skirt those laws.
Tax data obtained by ProPublica provides a glimpse of what congressional investigators would find if Crow were to open his books to them. Crow’s voyages with Thomas, the data shows, contributed to a nice side benefit: They helped reduce Crow’s tax bill. [Continue reading…]