Back on August 27th, Austan Goolsbee made this statement
during an on-the-record background briefing on corporate taxes:
So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses. . . .
The White House claims that this is publicly available information, but they can't point to where
in the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board report that the information is available.
Mark Holden of Koch tells TWS that the White House's response leaves a number of questions unanswered. "My primary concern is, Why does our name keep coming up, why do they single us out?" says Holden. "They don’t respond to that. That leads me to believe that it is part of a campaign against us because of our political views."
The White House official's claim that "No senior administration officials have any access to anyone's tax returns" is less than an absolute denial of wrongdoing. Is it possible that a junior administration official had access to Koch's tax information and relayed it to a senior administration official? We don't know for sure. White House press officials still refuse to respond to requests for comment from THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Holden also expresses doubt that the administration official based his claim merely on publicly available information. "The White House’s statement doesn’t cite anything particular or specific" on Koch's tax status in the PERAB report. "And what we’ve seen in the publicly available documents thus far, we have not seen anything referring to us and our corporate tax payment issues.... Even if [experts who testified to PERAB] did address that issue, it wouldn’t make that information publicly available necessarily."
Politico has an email from the WH pointing to "testimony before the the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) and from Koch's own website,"
but neither source pans out.
So it is publicly available information, but the White House can't point to exactly where this data was available. Now today the WH says that Goolsbee "misspoke,"
but it seems like a bit of stretch to explain that he just happened to accidentally guess how much taxes Koch Industries had actually paid. I have asked the WH about both of these points, but I have received no response back.
This isn't the first time that Goolsbee has done the political dirty work for Obama
(see also here
Now an investigation is going to take place
Obama’s press office wouldn’t say which of the PERAB’s witnesses made the claim — or why he would alert reporters to a potentially embarrassing detail about a company run by Obama’s political rivals.
Obama and the Democrats have long disliked the political activities
In a letter released Wednesday and first obtained by the Weekly Standard, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George informed Grassley he had “ordered the commencement of a review into the matters alleged.”
of libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch.
In an August 9 speech, President Obama singled out Americans for Prosperity, a free-market political group founded by David Koch in 2004. In the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, Obama said:
Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country. And they don't have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don't know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don't know if it’s a big oil company, or a big bank. You don't know if it’s a insurance company that wants to see some of the provisions in health reform repealed because it’s good for their bottom line, even if it’s not good for the American people.
Unfortunately, Mr. Goolsbee's actions aren't the only ones involving the IRS in politics
. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) wants to use the IRS to investigate whether Crossroads GPS (Karl Rove's group) and Americans for Job Security are violating any tax rules. Dana Perino reports at Fox News
that one of the big unions were called and told not to worry they weren't going to be one of the organizations investigated.
Labels: AustinGoolsbee, obamalawless