This week, the Republican leadership named its six members of the fiscal super committee; as we detailed, the GOP’s choices are not-so-super. All six Republicans have taken the Americans for Tax Reform anti-tax pledge and support a constitutional balanced budget amendment (though Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) may be wavering as to whether or not they’re willing to raise revenue through tax reform).
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) — who the GOP decided to tap as the super committee’s co-chair — has left little doubt as to where he stands on budget matters, calling Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid “cruel Ponzi schemes.” He constantly repeats false claims about the deficit and debt and “falsely characterized the debt limit fight as a consequence of spending policies enacted by President Obama and past Democratic congresses.” There’s little reason to believe that he is willing to cut the sort of deal that would reduce deficits over the long-term in a balanced way, ensuring that the rich and corporations pay their fair share.
Yesterday, the Public Campaign Action Fund provided one more reason to be pessimistic about Hensarling’s role on the committee, noting that his number one campaign donor makes its money aiding and abetting tax dodging and outsourcing:
Hensarling’s number one career donor, for instance, are the employees and PAC of accounting giant KPMG, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His campaign committee has received $62,250 from company donors.
A few years ago, “KPMG — one of the ‘Big Four’ that dominate global accounting work — admitted it helped wealthy individuals in the US evade tax on billions of dollars of income between 1996 and 2002.” The company agreed to pay “$456 million in fines, restitution and penalties as part of an agreement to defer prosecution of the firm, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced today.”
In 2011, KPMG was rated second place in the “World’s Best Outsourcing Advisors,” by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, “the leading professional association for organizations and individuals involved in transforming the world of business through outsourcing, offshoring, and shared services.”
Corporate tax revenue has plunged to historic lows, and corporate tax reform would be a fantastic way to raise additional government revenue, if the committee found the will to do so. But it actually makes sense that a tax dodger would be Hensarling’s top donor as, in his view, corporate tax avoidance is a good reason to cut the corporate tax rate.