Human Events Blog

Obama fundraiser helped rich criminals get tax breaks

 

The Daily Caller tells us that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) has canceled a big-bucks fundraiser she planned with a top Obama 2012 fundraiser, because another of the Democrats’ airheaded narratives is threatening to blow up in their faces:

Marjorie Rawls Roberts, who has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama’s 2012 campaign, helps her wealthy clients navigate offshore tax loopholes in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Last Thursday, the Daily Caller revealed that Roberts’ clients include recently convicted $7 billion Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford and alleged financial criminals from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.

Wasserman Schultz was scheduled to appear with Roberts at 8 a.m. on Monday morning at an “Obama Victory Fund 2012” event — advertised as “Breakfast with DNC Chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz” at “Walker’s by the Sea” in Lindberg Bay on St. Thomas.

So a big Obama donor made her fortune helping rich financial crooks exploit the kind of tax breaks President Obama spends his every waking moment whining about!  An earlier article at the Daily Caller described the awesome “tax fairness” achievements of Roberts, who is also a big supporter of class-warfare blowhard Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY):

Roberts helped recently convicted $7 billion ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford with his application for tax benefits from the U.S. Virgin Islands Economic Development Corporation. Those benefits permit recipients to avoid paying some — or all — of their taxes, as long as they live in the U.S. territory for the majority of a given tax year and fulfill certain financial and development obligations to the local economy.

The Virgin Islands Daily News reported that Stanford applied for those tax breaks in 2006, and that the territory’s current governor, Democrat John de Jongh, approved the application after taking office in 2007.

Stanford, who was convicted of defrauding 30,000 of his investors with bogus investments in his Antiguan bank while living a lavish lifestyle from the spoils of his scheme, owes hundreds of millions in back taxes. In early 2009, the Associated Press reported that the federal government placed four tax liens against Stanford, totaling about $212 million, between 2007 and 2008.

It’s probably a total coincidence, but Rep. Rangel was pushing legislation that “would have limited the U.S. tax agency’s authority to investigate and audit potential tax criminals enrolled in the U.S. Virgin Islands EDC program.”  And Roberts is presently engaged in helping a company “at the center of a major financial crime scandal” involving the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands to collect some juicy tax benefits.

Shortly after the Daily Caller exposed Roberts’ resume, Wasserman-Schultz abruptly decided that doing a fundraiser with her might not be such a hot idea after all.  The Congresswoman’s office claims the decision to cancel was made “at least a week ago,” but cannot advance any evidence to support that claim.  The only documentation of the cancellation was a Facebook post from Roberts, which said only that the Wasserman-Schultz appearance would be “postponed.”  Amusingly, this Facebook post was subsequently yanked from public view. 

Matt Boyle at the Daily Caller checked Obama’s campaign website Monday morning, and found the Wasserman-Schultz appearance in the U.S. Virgin Islands was still listed.  I checked at 8:30 AM Tuesday morning, and it’s still there.  Tickets range from $500 general admission to $2,500 per couple for “hosts.”

Roberts has also been tearing down photos of herself with President Obama, but of course the memory of the Internet is without pity.  Here’s a lovely shot of the offshore tax loophole queen in the arms of a grinning Barack Hussein Obama, scourge of “tax loopholes” for those who “don’t pay their fair share.”  Marjorie Roberts is the one on the right:

It’s hard to understand why Wasserman-Schultz would give the cold shoulder to such an enthusiastic donor.  After all, the Obama Administration is positively riddled with tax cheats.  The L.A. Times found 41 of them in 2010, and cited a Washington Post report that “Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in back taxes” from the previous year. 

Roberts’ favorite Congressman, Tribune of the People Charles Rangel, was censured by the House for financial improprieties, including 17 years of cheating on his taxes.  The Democrat Party rose as one to give Rangel a standing ovation after his censure.

Warren Buffett, the patron saint of millionaire surtaxes, has been fighting like a wildcat to avoid paying a billion dollars in back taxes.  A unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway firm was just sued by the federal government for $366 million in taxes and penalties.  What does this company deal in?  Wait for it, wait for it…

… corporate jets!

And when it came time to hand out goodies from Obama’s gigantic pork-encrusted “stimulus” bill, tax cheats were lined up with their hands out.  The Government Accountability Office found that $24 billion in “stimulus” loot was disbursed to companies owing a total of $757 million in back taxes.  Tax-delinquent companies “accounted for nearly 6 percent” of Recovery Act grantees, according to the Associated Press.  One firm got $100,000 Obama bucks even though they owed $6 million in back taxes.

Class-war Democrats, including the President himself, don’t seem shy about taking advantage of those evil “loopholes” they endlessly complain about.  Just as nothing in the law prevents a guilt-riddled millionaire from paying extra taxes, nothing in the law compels them to take deductions.  They could simply pay the total tax rate on their gross income, and take a round of applause for their bold leadership.  But they don’t, because class warfare is entirely about power.  It has nothing to do with fiscal sanity, as you can see from the President’s monomaniacal obsession with a new minimum tax that would fund his government for 11 hours per year, and require over half a millennium to pay off one year of Obama deficit spending.

Obama’s class warfare routine is a sucker play, and you’re an utter fool if you believe a minute of it.  The well-connected have done very well under this tax-hungry President.  He wants to punish his enemies and squeeze votes out of the gullible masses with his “man of the people” routine, not pay his debts.  Despite all the attacks on “millionaires and billionaires,” the true revenue target for Big Government is the middle class, especially small business owners, because that mighty host of smaller targets is less agile when it comes to evading high nominal tax rates. 

“Soak the rich” rhetoric is primarily an instrument to soften up the middle class for their inevitable fleecing.  When your taxes are raised – by a mournful cadre of socialists who tell you how very sorry they are, but something simply must be done to close those huge federal deficits, pay for everyone’s health care, invest in a future that’s “built to last,” and so forth – you won’t be nipping off to the Virgin Islands to look for shelters.

Obama shouldn’t be running away from Marjorie Rawls Roberts.  He should announce her as his next Treasury Secretary.

Update: Rep. Rangel’s office emailed me the following correction to clarify the nature of his ethics violations:

The tax allegation involved claims that he failed to report as income on his federal tax return the rental income from a time-share unit (not a “posh” villa as often depicted) he owned in the Dominican Republican which was used to offset his mortgage payments. Taxes were paid on that income in the Dominican Republic, but were not reported properly on his U.S. Federal tax returns. In some years he overpaid, and in some, he underpaid. The allegations that he did not pay his income taxes on the rental property are false.

The Congressman filed amended tax returns and financial disclosure forms, which corrected any mistakes he previously made. Is that an excuse? No, it is an explanation. But it also most definitely is not tax evasion or tax dodging which is a crime.

Moreover, the Ethics Committee’s Chief Counsel, who drew every adverse implication from the facts in a case in which Congressman Rangel was without a lawyer to provide adequate defense, was explicit that there was no corruption and no personal gain to the Congressman in any of the allegations:

“I see no evidence of corruption,” Blake Chisam, the top ethics committee lawyer, said at the end of a two-year investigation in response to questions from Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). “Do I believe that based on the record that Congressman Rangel took steps to benefit himself based on his position in Congress? No. I believe that the congressman, quite frankly, was overzealous in many of the things he did. And sloppy in his personal finances.”

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