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offshore tax transactions, Grassley clip out of context PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:53
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is receiving media questions about a new video from President Obama’s campaign that includes a Grassley clip.  The following is a statement from a Grassley spokeswoman:

“The video clip lacks any context and is blatantly misleading.  In the clip, Sen. Grassley is talking about tax policy for tax-exempt organizations.  The ad is talking about tax policy for other kinds of taxpayers.

“The Grassley clip comes from a March 2010 nomination hearing in the Finance Committee.  In his comments and questions, Sen. Grassley was revealing that President Obama’s nominee for Treasury Under Secretary of Domestic Finance – Jeffrey Goldstein – was a partner in a firm that engineered offshore accounts for tax-exempt organizations/businesses to avoid Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT), even while President Obama had attacked offshore vehicles for avoiding taxes.”

Background:

The hearing record is available here.  Sen. Grassley’s back-and-forth with Jeffrey Goldstein is on pages 13-16 and pages 75-81.

Sen. Grassley’s oversight of UBIT goes back to his reviews of tax-exempt hospitals and other nonprofit oversight.  A Finance Committee hearing in 2007 highlighted how charities avoid taxes with offshore funds.  This testimony led to Sen. Grassley’s oversight of tax-exempt university endowments.  UBIT is designed for tax-exempts that engage in commercial activity.  Boys and Girls Club is a good example, as it’s used offshore tax havens to shield otherwise taxable income from taxation.  Boys and Girls Club is not only tax-exempt but also receives taxpayer funded federal grants.

In August 2011, Sen. Grassley wrote to President Obama asking for his definition of tax loophole (below).  The Treasury Department responded, saying it agreed with Sen. Grassley that tax loopholes are unintentional benefits derived by taxpayers who may have found a way to game the system.

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

Grassley Urges Attention to Charitable Loophole Subsidized by Taxpayers

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today urged the Administration and congressional colleagues to take action to limit or close a charitable loophole that taxpayers heavily subsidize yet results in financial gains for a few principals and very little money for charities. At a Finance Committee hearing today, Grassley gave the example of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which is in the news as a key investor in the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar energy company.

Grassley said the George Kaiser Family Foundation converted from a private foundation to a supporting organization about ten years ago, as reported by The New York Times in 2005.  He said if the organization had remained a private foundation, it likely would not have been able to invest as much as it did in Solyndra or the other private equity or hedge funds in which it invested.  It also would have been subject to strong restrictions on self-dealing and excise taxes on its investment income.  The donors who contributed $1 billion in cash and securities, including non-publicly traded securities, over the past three years would have been subject to lower limits for deductibility if it had remained a private foundation.

“So, with Solyndra, the government didn’t just lose out on its investment through the $535 million loan guarantee,” Grassley told the Finance Committee. “It also lost out on the tremendous subsidy it provided the George Kaiser Family Foundation through the charitable contribution deduction.”

Grassley urged the Finance Committee leaders, as they schedule tax reform hearings, to schedule a hearing “to examine the standards for tax exemption and the increasingly blurred line between public charities and private foundations.”  Grassley also wrote to the Treasury secretary and the IRS commissioner, citing the George Kaiser Family Foundation example and urging them to finish a long-overdue study on appropriate pay-out rates for supporting organizations.

Grassley wrote in his letter, “The study was intended to inform the Treasury as to what was an appropriate pay-out level.  The idea was that the pay-out requirement should be no less than what is required of private foundations since these supporting organizations were clearly formed to skirt the private foundation rules.  If the Administration is serious about closing loopholes, it should prioritize the completion of the study and the finalization of the pay-out rules for those supporting organizations Congress deemed to be exploiting the tax code.  Both of these will be helpful as Congress continues to consider tax reform.”

Grassley is a senior member and former chairman and ranking member of the Finance Committee, with exclusive Senate jurisdiction over tax policy.
Grassley’s statement at the Finance Committee today is available here.

Grassley’s new letter to the Treasury and IRS is available here.

Grassley’s staff analysis of the George Kaiser Family Foundation is available here.

Grassley’s Aug. 11, 2011, letter to President Obama on the definition of tax loopholes is available here.

Treasury’s Oct. 3, 2011, response is available here.
The Grassley-Baucus 2005 letter to Treasury regarding supporting organizations and a related press release are available here.


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Treasury nominees on hold over IRS whistleblower office PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:35

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grassley Objects to Two Treasury Nominees over IRS Whistleblower Office Concerns

WASHINGTON – As promised, Sen. Chuck Grassley is formally objecting to Senate consideration of two Treasury nominees until the Treasury and IRS provide responses to his latest letter on the IRS whistleblower office.  The nominees are Mark J. Mazur, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and Matthew S. Rutherford to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

“The IRS could and should be doing a lot more to stop big-dollar tax cheats,” Grassley said.  “Progress on the whistleblower office is critical for tax compliance.”

Grassley wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman on June 21, the latest in a series of letters to explore the reasons for slow-going on whistleblower case processing and pay-outs.  While Treasury and IRS have provided information in meetings among staff, Grassley intends to object to Senate consideration of the nominees until he receives written responses to his June 21 letter.

Grassley’s notice of intention to object from the Congressional Record follows here.  The text of his June 21 letter is available here.  A press release describing Grassley’s history on the issue is available here.

INTENTION TO OBJECT -- (Senate - June 27, 2012)

[Page: S4668]

Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I intend to object to proceeding to the nominations of Mark J. Mazur, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Matthew S. Rutherford to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

My support for the final confirmation of these nominees will depend on both Treasury and Internal Revenue Service responses to questions I have posed regarding their implementation of the tax whistleblower program. I rewrote the statute in 2006 to encourage whistleblowing on big-dollar tax cheats. However, nearly six years since those changes were enacted, Treasury has yet to issue much needed regulations and IRS has paid less than a half dozen awards under the new program.

I have sent several letters to Secretary Geithner and Commissioner Shulman to get to the bottom of this. Our staffs have been meeting, including most recently on June 26, 2012. I understand that Secretary Geithner and Commissioner Shulman intend to provide written responses to my questions. Until I receive those responses, I will object to proceeding with the nominations of Mr. Rutherford and Dr. Mazur.

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TONIGHT - LIVE STREAM - GEN. JERRY BOYKIN - USA & ISRAEL PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The United West   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:00
LIVE STREAM - TONIGHT - 7pm (edt)
Gen. Jerry Boykin
The USA & ISRAEL
"The Ties That Bind"
LTG Jerry Boykin (ret.)
Do not miss General Boykin detail the importance of our relationship with Israel in these dangerous days!
≈≈≈
  • 36 years in the Army
  • Original member of the US Army's Delta Force.
  • Commanded all the Army's Green Berets
  • Special Warfare Center and School
  • Served a tour with the CIA
  • Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
  • Grenada, Somalia, and Iraq
  • Teaches at Hampden-Sydney College (Virginia).
  • Black Hawk Down in 1993
  • Books include Never Surrender:
A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom
  • Team leader for Team BII Report, Shariah - The Threat to America
  • Expert on defense policy, terrorism and the US-Israel relationship.
≈≈≈
APPEARING WITH GEN BOYKIN
RABBI JON HAUSMAN
Ahavath Torah Congregation
Stoughton, MA 02072
TOM TRENTO
The United West
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Governor Quinn Announces Start of LIHEAP Summer Cooling Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:36

Assistance Available to Help Low-Income Residents Pay Electric Bills

CHICAGO – July 10, 2012. In an effort to provide relief to residents facing high energy bills in the wake of the recent heat wave, Governor Pat Quinn today announced that applications will be accepted for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning July 11. Through LIHEAP, utility bill payments are made on behalf of households with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

“Temperatures have already reached dangerous levels across the state, and keeping people safe during the heat is my priority,” Governor Quinn said. “We must do everything we can to ensure Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens can remain healthy, safe and cool this summer.”

The LIHEAP summer cooling program will run from July 11 through July 27, or until funds are exhausted. A total of $10 million in federal funding is available for the program. Households that are responsible for their own electric bills will be eligible only under the following criteria: household income over the last 30 days does not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty standard threshold; and the household includes a person at least 60 years of age, a child under 60 months of age, and a person with a disability or an individual with a documented medical condition aggravated by excessive heat. In addition, current customers under the electric Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) are ineligible for cooling assistance.

“Through the LIHEAP program, we have helped more than 378,000 Illinois families to live more comfortably and safely in their homes, while helping reduce burdensome energy bills for those who need it most,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director David Vaught.

People can apply for LIHEAP assistance by visiting their local administrating agency, but are encouraged to call ahead, as long lines should be expected. A complete listing of LIHEAP's local administrating agencies and additional information about the program are available at www.liheapillinois.com, or by calling the toll-free “Keep Cool Illinois” hotline at 877-411-9276 between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Seniors are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat. With temperatures remaining high, Governor Quinn urged seniors and families with small children to take special measures to stay safe. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) advises residents to stay hydrated; avoid going outdoors during extreme heat; avoid or minimize physical exertion; keep window shades drawn; wear loose cotton clothing; and avoid eating heavy meals and cooking with ovens. People taking medications should check with their pharmacist or doctor to find out about any heat-related side effects.

Governor Quinn also urged Illinoisans to take advantage of more than 120 state facilities that serve as cooling centers. The cooling centers provide a place to stay cool and comfortable during the scorching hot days of summer. The centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state and the seven Illinois Tollway Oases in Northern Illinois. They will be open to the public during regular business hours.

More information on the state’s cooling centers is available by calling the IDHS toll-free hotline (800-843-6154), or search by zip code for the nearest cooling center at www.keepcool.illinois.gov.

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Braley Statement on CFTC Complaint against Peregrine Financial Group PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:13

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement after the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced it had filed a complaint against Peregrine Financial Group of Cedar Falls:

“Like many residents of the Cedar Valley, I was shocked at the seriousness of the allegations levied against Peregrine Financial Group today.  My immediate concern is with the Iowa farmers and grain elevators who may be victims of Peregrine’s alleged fraud.  I’m also deeply concerned about the impact of this situation on the employees of Peregrine and the entire Cedar Valley community.  In the days and weeks to come, I’ll be closely monitoring the actions of the CFTC and the FBI investigation of Peregrine.”

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