Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul chastised his Senate colleagues Tuesday for conducting a “show trial” against Apple. Lawmakers were holding hearings about offshore tax avoidance by the maker of Mac computers.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, defended his company’s corporate tax practices at the Senate subcommittee hearing.
“Frankly, I’m offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing,” Paul said. “I’m offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating, and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories.”
“Tell me what Apple has done that is illegal,” he demanded.
“I’m offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal,” Paul added. “If anyone should be on trial, it should be Congress.”
Paul repeatedly referred to the world’s second largest company as a great American success story, employing 600,000 Americans and providing popular products consumers want.
The hearing was called by Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, who previously referred to Apple’s tax practices as “creative tax gimmickry.” A recent Senate investigation uncovered that Apple did not pay $9 billion in 2012 due to offshore subsidiaries. The company paid $6 billion in taxes last year.
Paul argued that many American — including politicians — seek to minimize their tax burden. “I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple,” the senator said.
Paul said that the blame should fall on the “bizarre and byzantine” tax code” that simply doesn’t compete with the rest of the world.”
“Instead of doing the right thing, we drag businessmen and women in here to berate them for trying to maximize their profits for shareholders,” Paul said. “Apple has done more to enrich people’s lives than politicians will ever do.”
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