Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas. Credit: Chris Goodney / Bloomberg /Olivier Douliery / AFP

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.

The rich, as we’ve reported, often deduct millions of dollars from their taxes related to buying and operating their jets and […]

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