Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) has repeatedly lied about the effects of the GOP’s tax plan — a plan from which he stands to handsomely benefit, according to public records.
The tax plan, which was signed into law by President Trump late last year, gives owners of pass-through companies — businesses that don’t pay income taxes at the corporate level but rather allocate income across owners who then pay income taxes — their own new, lower rate. And according to public records, Denham made between $115,503 and $1,053,000 in business and rental income from LLCs (pass-through entities) in 2016.
Additionally, Denham’s salary in 2016 was a little more than $200,000. Ultimately, that means that Denham could fall into one of three new tax brackets created under his party’s new tax plan — 32 percent, 35 percent, or 37 percent — all of which would result in big savings for him personally. The congressman’s business and rental tax savings alone under GOP tax plan would, based on his public filings, range from between $8,547 an astounding $105,300.
But Denham has been lying about the effects of the bill throughout the process of crafting and passing the legislation. Last November, Denham said it was “just not true” that the GOP tax plan ultimately raises taxes on middle-class people. In an interview with KQED, Denham interrupted the host who mentioned analyses that found the tax cut for middle-income earners were merely temporary.
“Yeah, that’s just not true,” Denham cut in. “It’s very obvious.”
In the same interview with KQED, Denham said, “I’ve had constituents that have called in and they’ve actually run the numbers themselves, I’ve got their own testimonies. You know, when you factor in the expansion of the Child Tax Credit, ultimately it’s a very large savings here for the people in my district.”
But according to a report from The Center for American Progress (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent outlet housed in CAP), the tax law will have devastating effects on many people in Denham’s home state of California. According to the report, which analyzed the version of the bill from November that Denham was defending, more than 3.7 million people in the bottom 80 percent of the state’s income distribution would see their taxes increase by 2027.
In November, Denham also rejected the fact that eliminating the state and local income tax (SALT) deduction would hurt those he represents, according to local media.
But Denham was wrong in that front, too. In 2015, more than six million taxpayers in California claimed the SALT deduction, more than any other state. And as the California Budget and Policy Center outlined in November, eliminating the SALT deduction effectively means millions of Californians are being double taxed, a tax increase that forces Denham’s constituents and other Californians to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy and mostly benefits other states.
Some parts of the bill were changed in the final version, including capping rather than eliminating SALT, but Denham continues to misrepresent even the most basic aspects of the law.
The cherry on top is this: Denham claims it’s a lie to say that the GOP tax law is loaded with giveaways for corporations and the wealthy. After the tax bill passed, one of Denham’s Democratic challengers, a woman named Virginia Madueno, said the tax bill was “loaded with giveaways to big corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy, while leaving table scraps for the rest of us,” Denham responded in a tweet.
Sad to see @VMforCA10 lying to voters who will get tax cuts. She wants to keep your taxes high!!!
— Jeff Denham (@JeffDenham) December 20, 2017
But Maduno was right. An estimated 62 percent of the benefits from the tax plan will go to the top one percent, the plan reduces the corporate tax rate by 14 percent, and incentivizes keeping money in foreign tax havens.
When contacted for comment, no one at Denham’s office picked up the phone.
Denham is up for reelection in 2018, having carried his district by three points in 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also won the district by three points. A number of Democrats have jumped into the race to replace Denham, and the seat is considered a toss-up.
At any rate, Denham is hardly the only Republican who stands to profit from the law who has spent the last few months claiming the bill helps people it doesn’t, rather than wealthy people like himself. Throughout the tax overhaul process, Trump claimed time and time again that he didn’t stand to profit from the tax bill and painted the law as a boon for the middle class.