Now this is just getting embarrassing. Doesn’t anybody talk to anybody else in this administration?
As recently as 2010, Jack Lew, President Obama‘s nominee to be the next secretary of the Treasury, had $56,000 invested in a CitiGroup venture capital fund based in the Cayman Islands’ notorious Ugland House, a building whose mailboxes are home to nearly 19,000 corporate entities, many of them tax shelters.
The investment has been in public documents for years and drew no attention when Mr. Lew was confirmed to be deputy secretary of state in 2009 and director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in 2010.
But the fund is coming to light as Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats are zeroing on taxes lost to off-shore entities, including hedge funds, as a way to stave off $1 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts set to begin March 1.
…Which is why it’s coming up now: but you’d think that after the Susan Rice debacle and the slow-motion Chuck Hagel car wreck this administration would pay more attention to how things look. Of course, it’s actually an open question over whether this is that much of an issue, given that technically closing those loopholes represent a tax hike; and the GOP isn’t very big on those these days. To put it mildly.
Mind you, I don’t really expect this detail to torpedo the Lew nomination for Treasury Secretary, but Chuck Grassley still plans to have fun with this:
“President Obama has been almost obsessively critical of offshore investments,” Mr. Grassley said. “He called Ugland House ‘either the biggest building or the biggest tax scam on record.’ That makes this Cayman Islands investment of his top official and now Treasury secretary nominee worthy of attention. The irony is thick. Members of the Finance Committee will question Mr. Lew about his foreign investments at the hearing.”
As well they should.
Moe Lane (crosspost)