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Obama Treasury Secretary Nominee Jack Lew “Not Familiar” With His Investment In What Obama Called “The Biggest Tax Scam In The World”

- February 13, 2013

 

 

Today, Obama Treasury Secretary Nominee Jack Lew Said He Believes That We Should Have Tax Policies That Make It Difficult To Shelter Income, Despite The Fact That He Himself Invested In The Cayman Islands’ Ugland House. SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “And now to something that President Obama has made a big deal. On May the 4th, 2009, President Obama said about Ugland House, which is where you invested your money overseas, quote, “on the campaign I used to talk about the outrage of a building in Cayman Islands that had over 12,000 businesses, and I’ve said before, either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world,” end of quote. You invested more money there than the average American makes in an entire year. Do you believe the President was accurate in referring to the building which housed your investment as, quote, “the largest tax scam in the world?” JACK LEW:  “Senator, I’m happy to answer questions about my own investments. I’m also happy to answer questions about tax policy regarding the sheltering of income from taxation. I reported all income that I earned. I paid all taxes due. I very strongly believe that we should have tax policies that make it difficult, if not impossible, to shelter income from taxation.” (Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 2/13/13)

  • Lew Said He Was “Not Familiar” With His Investment In The Ugland House, Which Obama Has Twice Called “The Biggest Tax Scam In The World.” SEN. GRASSLEY:  “Well, there’s a certain hypocrisy in what the president says about other taxpayers and then your appointment, but let me move on. You’ve told finance committee staff that you were unaware of Ugland House and its association with tax scams. That makes me wonder where you have been for the last eight years. The Chairman of this Committee as well as a former Budget Committee Chairman whose chart is behind us highlighted Ugland House as the nation’s -- to the nation several times. As I said, President Obama preached about it. It’s no wonder that maybe you and the President haven’t proposed legislative solutions to what you consider -- or what the President considers a tax scam. So my question, how can you be the President’s top tax enforcer if you haven't heard of this offshore loophole?” LEW:  senator, this committee has reviewed my taxes for many years. I think it's clear that I’ve reported all income that I’ve earned, I paid taxes as appropriate. I believe very strongly that people should pay taxes on their income. I have very strong views on how the tax code should be constructed to encourage investment in the United States and I am happy to answer any policy questions you have.” SEN. GRASSLEY:  “Ugland House ought to be shut down?” LEW:  “Senator, I am actually not familiar with Ugand House. I understand there are a lot of things that happened there that were a problem.” (Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 2/13/13)

FLASHBACK: During The 2008 Democrat Primary Debates, Obama Suggested That A Building That Houses 12,000 Companies In The Cayman Islands Is “Either The Biggest Building Or The Biggest Tax Scam On Record.” SEN. BARACK OBAMA: “That’s why I have proposed specific tax relief now, immediately, so that we would offset some of the payroll tax, that we would immediately put some additional dollars in the pockets of American families, working families typically making $75,000 a year or less, to not only stimulate the economy, but also to balance out a tax code. And I would pay for it very specifically by closing tax loopholes and tax havens. You've got a building in the Cayman Islands that supposedly houses 12,000 corporations. That's either the biggest building or the biggest tax scam on record.” (Democrat Primary Debate, Manchester, N.H., 1/5/08)

FLASHBACK: Obama Again Brought Up The Ugland House As President In 2009 During Remarks On International Tax Policy Reform, Reiterating That “This Is The Largest Building In The World Or The Largest Tax Scam In The World.” OBAMA: “For years, we’ve talked about shutting down overseas tax havens that let companies set up operations to avoid paying taxes in America.  That's what our budget will finally do.  On the campaign, I used to talk about the outrage of a building in the Cayman Islands that had over 12,000 business -- businesses claim this building as their headquarters.  And I’ve said before, either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President On International Tax Policy Reform, Washington, D.C., 5/4/09)

  • Obama Criticized The Legality Of Tax Havens In The Tax Code, Saying “That Makes It Perfectly Legal For Companies To Avoid Paying Their Fair Share.” OBAMA: “And yet, even as most American citizens and businesses meet these responsibilities, there are others who are shirking theirs. And many are aided and abetted by a broken tax system, written by well-connected lobbyists on behalf of well-heeled interests and individuals.  It's a tax code full of corporate loopholes that makes it perfectly legal for companies to avoid paying their fair share.  It's a tax code that makes it all too easy for a number -- a small number of individuals and companies to abuse overseas tax havens to avoid paying any taxes at all.  And it's a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President On International Tax Policy Reform, Washington, D.C., 5/4/09)

 


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