In January 2020, the Center for Public Integrity and Vox reported that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which granted corporations a 14 percent reduction in taxes, also helped Republicans in Congress who own shares in those corporations to reap additional profits. While Republicans “sold the bill as a package of business and middle-class tax cuts that would not help the wealthy, the cuts likely saved members of Congress hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes collectively, while the corporate tax cut hiked the value of their holdings,” Peter Carey reported. Democrats in Congress also benefitted, but none of them voted for the act, the Center for Public Integrity noted. The Center’s report examined the text of the act and Congressional lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doled out a $150 billion corporate tax savings in 2018 alone, which many Congressional Republicans had a vested interest in. “All but one of the 47 Republicans who sat on the three key committees overseeing the drafting of the tax bill own stocks and stock mutual funds,” Carey reported.
Carey also detailed the so-called “crown jewel” provision in the act, a twenty percent deduction for income from “pass-through” businesses. As Carey explained, pass-throughs are “single-owner businesses, partnerships, limited liability companies (known as LLCs) and special corporations called S-corps.” Trump owns “hundreds of them” and the Center for Public Integrity found that “22 of the 47 members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees in 2017 were invested in them,” Carey reported.
Although the corporate media, including CBS News, have provided some critical coverage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and its impacts, the report by the Center for Public Integrity and Vox is distinctive in having analyzed the financial disclosure forms of the lawmakers who passed the legislation to show how they profited from it personally. Corporate news outlets have not covered this important aspect of the story.
On March 31, 2020, Reuters reported that the person who authored the 2017 Republican tax cut, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich, is “under consideration to oversee a newly created $500 billion coronavirus rescue loan program for large companies, cities and states,” according to “two sources familiar with the agency’s plans.”
Source: Peter Carey, “Republicans Passed Tax Cut —Then Profited,” Center for Public Integrity, January 24, 2020, https://publicintegrity.org/inequality-poverty-opportunity/taxes/trumps-tax-cuts/republicans-profit-congress/; also published as “How Republicans Made Millions on the Tax Cuts They Pushed through Congress,” Vox, January 24, 2020, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/1/24/21078559/republicans-tax-cuts-congress-profits.
Student Researcher: Chris Valenzuela (College of Western Idaho)
Faculty Evaluator: Anna Gamboa (College of Western Idaho)