Well, well. Look what showed up at the very last minute in the Republican tax bill:
Republican congressional leaders and real estate moguls could be personally enriched by a real-estate-related provision GOP lawmakers slipped into the final tax bill released Friday evening, according to experts interviewed by International Business Times. The legislative language was not part of previous versions of the bill and was added despite ongoing conflict-of-interest questions about the intertwining real estate interests and governmental responsibilities of President Donald Trump — the bill’s chief proponent...
The new tax provision would specifically allow owners of large real estate holdings through LLCs to deduct a percentage of their “pass through” income from their taxes, according to experts.
This steaming pile of self-dealing is being called the #CorkerKickback because Republican Senator Bob Corker—who initially opposed the tax bill because it adds $1 trillion to the deficit—suddenly switched his vote after this particular provision was added.
And guess what? Because of Corker's real estate holdings, the provision could personally save him more than $1 million.
Plenty of other GOP lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, also stand to benefit from the way the bill now handles taxes on "pass through" income:
IBT reviewed the most recent personal financial disclosure records of 44 Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate leadership, as well as on the chambers’ committees that have overseen the tax bill. In all, 13 of those lawmakers have between $36 million and $163 million worth of ownership stakes in 40 real-estate or property-related partnerships, corporations and investment trusts. In 2016, those 13 legislators earned between $2.6 million and $16 million of annual income from those investments.
But, uh, Senator John Cornyn of Texas says the provision was specifically added to get votes.
Journalist David Sirota is all over this on Twitter:
Worth remembering when thinking about the Corker story: With McCain out, if Corker and Flake or Collins vote no, Trump's entire $1.5 trillion tax bill will be defeated. That's how big the stakes are here. https://t.co/dwLn4rc3om
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) December 18, 2017