Malaka Of The Week: Harlan Crow

Harlan Crow, his signed copy of Mein Kampf, and Clarence Thomas. 

The most senior Supreme Court justice has gone from Silent Clarence to Corrupt Clarence. Meet the Dallas fat cat who corrupted him. And that is why Harlan Crow is malaka of the week.

ProPublica has again lived up to its name by exposing the Thomas-Crow connection. I’ll let Slate legal eagles Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern provide the basic facts:

We will doubtless spend a few news cycles expressing outrage that Harlan Crow has spent millions of dollars lavishing the Thomases with lux vacations and high-end travel and barely pretended to separate business and pleasure, giving half a million dollars to a Tea Party group founded by Ginni Thomas in 2011 (which funded her own $120,000 salary). But because the justices are left to police themselves and opt not to do so, we will turn to other matters in due time. Before the outrage dries up, however, it is worth zeroing in on two aspects of the ProPublica report that do have lasting legal implications. First, the same people who benefited from the lax status quo continue to fight against any meaningful reforms that might curb the justices’ gravy train. Second, the rules governing Thomas’ conduct over these years, while terribly insufficient, actually did require him to disclose at least some of these extravagant gifts. The fact that he ignored the rules anyway illustrates just how difficult it will be to force the justices to obey the law: Without the strong threat of enforcement, a putative public servant like Thomas will thumb his nose at the law.”

Harlan Crow is a Dallas-based investment banker and real estate developer following in the footsteps of his equally right-wing father Trammell Crow. Crow’s brother Trammell Junior is even shadier: He’s been accused of human trafficking among other malefactions. What is it with real estate developers? Many are both corrupt and corruptors. Harlan Crow learned how to buy and sell property and people at his father’s knee.

The details of the Crow-Thomas relationship are reminiscent of last year’s NYT story about Sam the Sham Alito. Alito’s ethical lapses may have been worse because the rich wingnuts he palled around with have admitted discussing abortion cases with him. BUT when it comes to donor largesse Harlan Crow is in a category of his own: Clarence and Ginni Thomas have been living large off him for years. I’m unsure whether to call Justice Thomas a schnorrer or a sponger; either works.

Here’s Clarence’s musical response to the Crow story:

Oops, that was Harry Nilsson’s song about Bill Bixby’s teevee son. Let’s try again with a song by some hippies:

Like Gilded Age robber barons, the Harlan Crows of the world think the rules of society don’t apply to them. They’re mere inconveniences for “libertarian” billionaires like Crow who have the resources to buy their way out of any tight scrape they find themselves in.

In addition to buying off Supremes and their spouses, Crow’s passion is collecting Nazi memorabilia. I am not making this up:

When Republican megadonor Harlan Crow isn’t lavishing Justice Clarence Thomas with free trips on his private plane and yacht (in possible violation of Supreme Court ethics rules), he lives a quiet life in Dallas among his historical collections. These collections include Hitler artifacts—two of his paintings of European cityscapes, a signed copy of Mein Kampf, and assorted Nazi memorabilia—plus a garden full of statues of the 20th century’s worst despots.

Dictators in the garden sounds like a neo-Nazi thrash metal band. Oy such a collection. Has Corrupt Clarence ever found himself eyeball to eyeball with a Hitler painting?

The dictator collection is presented without any context. Crow calls it his Garden of Evil. So, he’s Gary Cooper now?

There’s a thin line between collecting and creepiness and Crow’s dictator garden crosses it. Additionally, Hitler was a notoriously shitty painter. Who wants to hang his work on their wall? Crow also owns a Norman Rockwell painting. I bet it’s not this famous foursome:

That’s FDR’s Four Freedoms speech brought to life. Guys like Clarence Thomas and Harlan Crow talk a good game about freedom but it’s freedom to be selfish. And that is why Harlan Crow is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to a Joni Mitchell crow song followed by Diana Krall’s cover of said crow song.

5 thoughts on “Malaka Of The Week: Harlan Crow

  1. I have questions about the dictator statutes. 1. Who created these? 2. Is there any record of who they depict? 3. Has Crow offered a rationale for them?

  2. “Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, Karl Marx and Che Guevara.

    Greene described the Lenin statue, writing, “immense figure stands staring into the distance, his heavy overcoat falling in folds at his side.

    “The white streaks on the coat are not pigeon droppings, but the remains of paint hurled on the bronze by Russians who hated him and his politics,” Greene wrote.”

    1. “Artifacts from the SS Athenia, the first British ship sunk by Nazi Germany during World War II. Crow’s mother, Margaret Crow, survived the ship’s sinking”

    2. Glad you answered your own questions. Strictly a sub plot for me. I don’t think Crow is a N
      azi, he’s just a history buff with too much money to burn.

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