Back in May, the House of Representatives passed HR 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. The bill, which ran into a Republican-led filibuster that stalled it in the Senate, is intended to close tax loopholes that incentivize the offshoring of American jobs to foreign countries. One congressman who voted against the bill was Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL).
Now, it has come to light that Kirk — who is also the Illinois Republican nominee for U.S. Senate — held a fundraiser with at least a dozen American businessmen doing business in China the day before he went to the floor of the House of Representatives to vote down legislation that would help keep American jobs from moving overseas.
The Capitol Fax Blog has obtained an internal memo detailing the Kirk campaign’s fundraising. Interestingly, at one point the memo sets out a fundraising calendar. On the calendar, it lists the words “Beijing FR” on May 27th, one day before the May 28th vote on the offshoring bill:
As The Capitol Fax Blog notes, “‘FR’ is a standard campaign abbreviation for ‘fundraiser.’” The blog asked the Kirk campaign about the fundraiser, and was told that the campaign held a Skype fundraising call with at least 12 people, all American businessmen operating in China.
Although the campaign did not release the names of the businessmen who were part of the call, perusal of FEC records shows that Kirk did receive donations that day from at least some individuals who have financial interests in China. Geoffery Enck contributed $1,000 that day, and “is the CEO of ITI China Holdings. One of the things the company does is investment banking for Chinese manufacturing plants.” Richard Horowitz donated $1,000 to Kirk the same day, and is President of P & F Industries. P & F Industries in 2009 purchased “approximately 41% of its pneumatic tools from a Far East trading company that owns or represents 21 individual factories in Japan, Taiwan and China and 34% directly from a manufacturer in China.” Mark Silber, an executive at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, donated $1,000. Renaissance Technologies has received “billions” of dollars from the “China Investment Corp (CIC), the country’s US$200 billion sovereign wealth fund.”
ThinkProgress is not alleging that any of these individuals were necessarily the ones that participated in the “Beijing Fundraiser.” But without Kirk campaign releasing the names of the businesspersons who attended the fundraiser, we cannot know for sure which interests it was that Kirk was responding to when he voted against the offshoring bill the next day.