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Tell Congress: No tax legislation without Paradise Papers investigation

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Petition to Congress:

"Do not pass any tax-related legislation without first completing a full and public investigation into the offshore tax-dodging schemes revealed by the Paradise Papers, including financial ties between Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and a Russian energy company linked to Vladimir Putin."

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    Tell Congress: No tax legislation without Paradise Papers investigation

    One year after the Panama Papers revealed the tax dodging secrets of the ultra-wealthy, a new trove of documents called the “Paradise Papers” is making headlines across the world.1

    Most shockingly, the papers reveal that Trump Commerce Secretary reportedly maintains financial ties to a Russian energy company with family ties to Vladimir Putin, despite claims to have divested such holdings.2 The more than 13 million pages of documents detail how well-connected Wall Street bankers, hedge funds and international corporations all dodge paying their fair share and name more than a dozen close Trump associates.3

    These papers make it clear: There is one tax code for the rich and powerful and another for the rest of us. Congress cannot in good conscience proceed with any tax legislation – like the massive Trump tax scam moving right now – until it has pored over every line of these papers.

    Tell Congress: No tax legislation without Paradise Papers investigation.

    The Paradise Papers name some of the most prominent members in the Trump circle, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, economic adviser Gary Cohn and recent appointee to a big bank regulatory post at the Federal Reserve Randal Quarles. The documents also include corporations like Apple, Uber, and Nike; global political figures like the Queen of England; and major Trump backers like the Koch Brothers, Robert Mercer, and Sheldon Adelson.4,5

    But perhaps worst of all are the revelations that Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has financial ties to Russian oligarchs and did not reveal that information before his confirmation.6 As Sen. Richard Blumenthal said this weekend:

    “In concealing his interest in these shipping companies – and his ongoing financial relationship with Russian oligarchs – Secretary Ross misled me, the Senate Commerce Committee, and the American people. Secretary Ross’ financial disclosures are like a Russian nesting doll, with blatant conflicts of interest carefully hidden within seemingly innocuous holding companies.”7

    The Paradise Papers show how the super-rich hide their wealth offshore while the rest of us pay taxes. Yet despite these reports, Trump Republicans are plowing ahead with the Trump tax scam that would raise taxes on the poor and middle class while giving a tax handout to the already wealthy. We need to raise our voices and insist on a full and complete investigation of the tax-dodging revealed in the Paradise Papers before Congress even thinks about passing new tax legislation.

    Tell Congress: No tax legislation without Paradise Papers investigation.

    The Paradise Papers shine a spotlight on the lawyers, accountants and bankers who help the ultra-rich hide their income in offshore shell companies and avoid taxes. At a time when Republicans try to reward their backers with corporate tax cuts and handouts for Wall Street billionaires, the papers are a shocking reminder that the tax system is already rigged against everyday people.

    The release of the Paradise Papers puts Trump Republicans and the worst of the 1% on the defensive. We need to make sure they can’t brush the reports aside by pushing for an immediate, exhaustive and public congressional investigation – and make it clear to moderate Republicans and corporate Democrats that there should be no movement on tax legislation until such an investigation is complete.

    Tell Congress: No tax legislation without Paradise Papers investigation.

    Thank you for your activism.

    Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    References:

    1. Will Fitzgibbon et. al., “Offshore Trove Exposes Trump-Russia Links And Piggy Banks Of The Wealthiest 1 Percent,” International Consortium of Independent Journalists, Nov. 5, 2017.
    2. Richard Engel and Aggelos Petropoulos, “Paradise Papers: Leaks Show Wilbur Ross Hid Ties to Putin Cronies,” NBC News, Nov. 5, 2017.
    3. Sasha Chavkin and Spencer Woodman, “THE INFLUENCERS: Explore the offshore connections of 13 Trump advisers, donors and cabinet members,” International Consortium of Independent Journalists, Nov. 5, 2017.
    4. Fitzgibbon et. al., “Offshore Trove Exposes Trump-Russia Links And Piggy Banks Of The Wealthiest 1 Percent.
    5. Chavkin and Woodman, “THE INFLUENCERS: Explore the offshore connections of 13 Trump advisers, donors and cabinet members.
    6. Engel and Petropoulos, “Paradise Papers: Leaks Show Wilbur Ross Hid Ties to Putin Cronies.
    7. Lois Nelson, “Wilbur Ross: Accusations that I failed to disclose Russia-linked investments are 'evil,’” POLITICO, Nov. 6, 2017.