Senate Judiciary to Issue Subpoenas to Donors Involved in SCOTUS Ethics Scandals

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote to subpoena two wealthy donors and a high-profile legal power player at the center of recent United States Supreme Court ethics scandals.

The donors, Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley II, have reportedly provided luxury vacations to members of the Supreme Court that were never reported by the Justices in their financial disclosures, while Leonard Leo helped organize some of the trips.

All three individuals have declined to fully cooperate with requests for information from the Committee.  

Statement of Marilyn Carpinteyro, Common Cause interim co-president 

The Senate Judiciary Committee, faced with stonewalling by those who paid for unreported luxury junkets, must get to the truth by using its subpoena power. Americans deserve to know the facts about the gifts and loans received, but never reported, by Justices past and present.

All of us expect and deserve a Supreme Court that maintains high ethical standards, but several current and former Justices have fallen shamefully short. The Supreme Court is the only court in the nation without a binding code of conduct and the latest revelations join a long list of scandals that have repeatedly shown the justices cannot police themselves.

Common Cause sounded the alarm on Supreme Court ethics more than a decade ago by revealing unreported travel by then-Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Thomas. Our research also revealed that for years, Justice Thomas had routinely failed to report his wife’s income much of it from highly political, conservative organizations. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse deserve credit for holding this accountability vote today and for advancing important legislation earlier this year to create a code of ethics for the High Court. We hope this long-overdue legislation will be brought to the Senate floor soon, and we strongly encourage every Senator to support the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.”