The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Andrea Beaty,

Clarence Thomas Must Recuse From Harlan Crow-Backed Challenges To New York's Rent Control Law

In response to the news that Clarence Thomas participated in the Supreme Court decision to deny cert in the first of three challenges of New York City’s rent control law (Community Housing Improvement Program v. City of New York, New York), Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser released the following statement:

“It is a travesty that Clarence Thomas failed to recuse himself in yet another case from which his right-wing donors could directly benefit,” said Hauser. “Justice Thomas’ billionaire benefactor Harlan Crow has a vested interest in weakening rent control laws across the country to buttress his real estate empire’s profits. Crow’s industry lobbyist of choice, the National Multifamily Housing Council, filed an amicus brief urging the Second Circuit to take up the challenge to New York City’s rent control law in 2021. While the NMHC did not file a brief for the case before the Supreme Court, there should be little doubt that Thomas and his clerks are aware of NMHC’s, and therefore Crow’s, interest in the case.”

“However, the threat from the Thomas-Crow relationship remains imminent. We call on Thomas to immediately recuse himself from two additional challenges to New York City’s rent control law relisted for the October 6th conference by the Court: 74 Pinehurst LLC v. New York (22-1130) and 335-7 LLC v. City of New York. Crow’s interest in these cases is unambiguous, as is the depth of Thomas’ relationship with his patron Crow.”

In July 2023, the Revolving Door Project released a report on NMHC’s extensive ties to Harlan Crow’s real estate empire. NMHC Chair Ken Valach is CEO of three subsidiaries of Harlan Crow’s company Crow Holdings. As part of its work for landlords, NMHC opposed tenant protection measures like rent stabilization in states across the country and lobbied to overturn the CDC’s eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Revolving Door Project (RDP) scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.