In response to the release of leaked documents revealing Trump administration officials links’ to offshore tax havens and extensive offshore tax haven use by large US multinational companies including Nike, Apple, and Uber, Gawain Kripke, Oxfam America’s Policy Director, made the following statement:
“The stunning disclosures revealed by the Paradise Papers leak expose the ugly reality of our tax system, allowing the rich and powerful to play by a special set of rules with everyone else picking up the tab. These companies sell openness and freedom, but their profits are built on a web of secrecy and avoidance.
“Make no mistake, this is not just another salacious leak, this is a wake-up call. The vast and real human costs of this story must not be ignored. Billions of dollars are being stashed away in paradise instead of being invested in roads, schools, and hospitals.
“Worse yet, the changes to our tax laws proposed last week by House Republican leaders would only make things worse by rewarding the biggest corporate tax dodgers with even easier ways to stash money offshore.
“Congress must immediately halt action on the proposed tax bill and launch a comprehensive investigation into the activities revealed by these leaks. The House Ways and Means Committee should postpone its planned mark-up of the bill until there is a complete accounting of how the proposed changes to US tax laws would exacerbate the tax dodging revealed by Paradise Papers.
“Administration officials named in Paradise Papers, including Wilbur Ross, Rex Tillerson, and Gary Cohn, must immediately recuse themselves from all discussions on federal tax policy reform until this investigation can run its course. We cannot afford to have tax dodgers writing our tax code, be they officials of the US government or well-heeled lobbyists rigging the system on behalf of big corporate interests.
“This leak is only possible because of the radical secrecy embedded in our tax laws. This should be a clarion call for legislation to mandate basic transparency so we no longer need leaks like this to reveal the rot beneath the surface. We applaud the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for their amazing work, but if Congress were doing its job, this type of leak would not be necessary in the first place.”
Notes: The Paradise Papers, a global investigation by the Institute for Investigative Journalists, reveals details of the corporations and individuals cheating governments out of billions of dollars in tax revenues. For more details see: https://www.icij.org/blog/2017/785/icij-releases-paradise-papers/