ABC reporter Jon Karl grilled deputy White House spokesman Eric Schultz about a new report showing how many executives who pursue corporate mergers overseas to avoid onerous U.S. tax laws — a move Obama has called “unpatriotic” — have donated millions to the Democratic Party and President Obama’s former campaigns.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that top Obama and Democratic donors — including an investment banker who hosted a fundraiser for the president, a co-chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and a bundler who raised $200,000 for Obama’s reelection campaign — are all guilty of pursuing “corporate inversions,” which Obama has called unpatriotic and is seeking to limit through executive actions.
“Is the president going to be asking Democrats to return money contributed, or seek to return money contribution, by some these corporate inversions?” Karl asked Schultz at a Martha’s Vineyard press conference.
“No,” Schultz said simply.
“Why not?” Karl pushed back. “I mean, this is — these guys are profiting off the very practices the president’s condemned and wants to see stopped.”
Schultz tried to dodge, noting only that “we are not privy to the details and have no role in any company’s plans. What we are focused on is stopping the problem.”
But Karl wouldn’t let up. “But isn’t it hypocritical?” he asked. “I mean, essentially the president has profited himself, his political apparatus has profited by taking contributions from people that have made money doing exactly this?”
“I guess I would understand the skepticism more if we weren’t doing something to tackle the problem,” Schultz said. “But instead, we are going after any company that renounces it’s citizenship in order to pay less in taxes?”
“But why not renounce those donations?” Karl pressed.
“What we’re renouncing is the practice of using shifty accounting in order to avoid paying their fair share, which subsequently passes on to middle class families,” Schultz finally managed.