Press Release

Welch Joins Letter to Chief Justice Calling for Investigation of Justice Thomas’s Unreported Billionaire-Funded Trips

Apr 17, 2023

WASHINGTON – Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA), and a bicameral group of colleagues last week to call for an ethics investigation into Justice Clarence Thomas’s failure to disclose luxury travel financed by Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. Addressed to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, the letter follows reporting from ProPublica outlining the relationship between Justice Thomas and Mr. Crow, who for 20 years reportedly subsidized trips for Justice Thomas and his wife, paying for the two to use Crow’s private plane, travel on his superyacht, and vacation at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.  

“In light of reporting by ProPublica that Justice Clarence Thomas has repeatedly accepted and failed to disclose gifts and travel from billionaire Harlan Crow, we write to request an investigation into these and other outstanding allegations of unethical, and potentially unlawful, conduct at the Supreme Court,” the letter read. “To date, the Court has barely acknowledged, much less investigated, these allegations.  Amidst all of this—perhaps due in part to the Court’s inaction—the American people’s trust in the Supreme Court has plummeted to an all-time low.  We believe that it is your duty as Chief Justice ‘to safeguard public faith in the judiciary,’ and that fulfilling that duty requires swift, thorough, independent and transparent investigation into these allegations.” 

Welch sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, alongside Sen. Whitehouse, who chairs the Courts Subcommittee. Rep. Johnson is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Courts Subcommittee. 

The letter was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Cori Bush (D-MO), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Steve Cohen (D-TN). 

To read the full text of the letter, please click here.