US Supreme Court judge’s megadonor friend said to own pieces of Nazi memorabilia

Harlan Crow, who reportedly gave lavish gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas, reportedly owns signed ‘Mein Kampf’ and Hitler paintings, as well as garden statues of Mussolini, Stalin

Harlan Crow attends a book release reception by The George W. Bush Institute for 'The 4 Percent Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs,' on July 17, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Harlan Crow attends a book release reception by The George W. Bush Institute for 'The 4 Percent Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs,' on July 17, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

A major Republican donor who reportedly gave undeclared lavish gifts to US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, reportedly maintains a collection of Nazi and World War II memorabilia, including a signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and two paintings by the Nazi dictator.

Harlan Crow, a prominent American real estate developer and businessman known for his support of conservative causes, was also said to have garden statues of dictators Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini as well as multiple other pieces of Nazi memorabilia.

Crow has reportedly defended the unique collection, which includes two of Nazi dictator Hitler’s paintings depicting European cityscapes, saying that he maintains the items because he “hates communism and fascism.”

“I still can’t get over the collection of Nazi memorabilia,” one person who visited Crow’s property a few years ago told the Washingtonian.

“It would have been helpful to have someone explain the significance of all the items. Without that context, you sort of just gasp when you walk into the room,” the individual said.

The person, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Washingtonian that the sculptures of the 20th century’s most infamous despots were “startling” and “strange.”

Visiting Crow’s home was “just strange. They had family photos in one room, then all this WWII stuff in another room, and dictators in the backyard,” the guest recalled.

An investigation by ProPublica last week revealed that for 20 years Thomas has received undeclared gifts from Crow, including access to his private yacht, private jet, and private resort in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, as well as an annual all-expenses-paid trip for Thomas and his family.

Crow has a seat on the board of the influential Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, which regularly files amicus briefs to the Supreme Court where Thomas, a veteran judge of 31 years, sits.

Democrats have said that they will push for an investigation into the undeclared gifts, with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatening to introduce articles of impeachment.

Impeachment of a Supreme Court judge has only occurred once, in 1804, and with Republicans controlling the House of Representatives, would be unlikely to succeed in Thomas’s case.

Responding to the reports of the gifts, Thomas said he was advised by colleagues on the nation’s highest court and others in the federal judiciary that “this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.”

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas joins other members of the Supreme Court as they pose for a new group portrait, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, October 7, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Supreme Court justices, like other federal judges, are required to file an annual financial disclosure report which asks them to list gifts they have received, but provides exemptions for hospitality from friends.

Ethics experts have offered conflicting views about whether Thomas was required to disclose the trips. Last month, the federal judiciary bolstered disclosure requirements for all judges, including the high court justices, although overnight stays at personal vacation homes owned by friends remain exempt from disclosure.

Thomas, the longest-serving member of the court, said he has always tried to comply with disclosure guidelines. Regarding the recent changes, “It is, of course, my intent to follow this guidance in the future,” he said in the statement.

Last year, questions about Thomas’ ethics arose when it was disclosed that he did not step away from election cases following the 2020 election despite the fact that his wife, a conservative activist, reached out to lawmakers and the Trump White House to urge defiance of the election results.

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