This thing should be called the #HatchKickback. The provision inserted into the tax cuts bill in conference committee, apparently the inducement that got Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to finally agree to the bill, has an owner. That’s Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who it turns out is going to be doing very well for himself out of this bill. It turns out there are 14 Republican senators who have real estate shell companies and will get a very, very big return for their “yes” votes.
In all, 14 Republican senators (see list below) hold financial interests in 26 income-generating real-estate partnerships — worth as much as $105 million in total. Those holdings together produced between $2.4 million and $14.1 million in rent and interest income in 2016, according to federal records. […]
Because the provision was added by the conference committee, it is “unlikely to have been fully priced into the revenue estimate, because the new provision was never subject to the benefits of crowdsourced analysis of all its implications,” University of Southern California law professor Edward Kleinbard told IBT. […]
Elaine Hatch, the wife of the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who said Monday that he wrote the real-estate tax break and disputed IBT’s report that the provision had not been in previous versions of the bill, owns a stake in a real-estate LLC worth up to $500,000 that generated between $5,000 and $15,000 of income from rent/royalties, interest and capital gains in 2016.
Those 14 Republican senators: Bob Corker (TN); Steve Daines (MT); Lamar Alexander (TN); Ron Johnson (WI); Rob Portman (OH); James Risch (ID); Jim Inhofe (OK); John Kennedy (LA); Johnny Isakson (GA); John Barrasso (WY); Luther Strange (LA); Rand Paul (KY); Orrin Hatch (UT); John Hoeven (ND). None of these guys is hurting for money. Corker is the Senate’s fourth richest member, with a net worth estimated over $69 million, according to the IBT, with as much as $7 million coming from his real-estate partnerships. Daines is worth $14.4 million and earned as much as $4.2 million in rental income. Johnson and Alexander each earned about $1 million from their real-estate ventures.
We’ve got one real villain here, and that’s Orrin Hatch. Sure Corker is an unprincipled hack, but that’s just regular Republican. But Hatch, you will remember, is the guy who went on the Senate floor to debate this bill and declared that we “don’t have money anymore” for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But money to line his own pocket, along with 13 of his best Senate friends? That’s just fine.
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just announced that he’s bringing the bill to the floor this evening. We’ve got several hours to raise holy hell. Jam the phone lines.
The GOP Tax Scam added special provision to help real estate investors like Sen. Bob Corker, who “mysteriously” flipped his vote to a YES without even reading the bill. Call your members of the Senate & House at (202) 224-3121, and give them a very angry piece of your mind.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.