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Jack Lew: I don’t know why my investment was in the Caymans

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

White House chief of staff Jack Lew told lawmakers that he could not explain why his venture capital investment was headquartered in the Cayman Islands, though he did recommend that Congress lower corporate tax rates.

“I actually don’t know,” Lew replied when Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked why the venture capital firm was located in the Caymans. “At the time I invested, I was aware that it was an international fund investing in emerging markets,” he added, but said he “actually didn’t know” it was in the Caymans.

The Treasury Secretary nominee called for tax reform that would “broaden the base . . . and hopefully lower the rates.”

Lew’s investment was headquartered at Ugland House, which President Obama has called “the largest tax scam in the world.”  Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, confronted Lew about that fact, but the nominee demurred.

“I very strongly believe we should have tax policies that make it difficult if not impossible to shelter income,” Lew replied, adding moments later “I’m actually not familiar with Ugland House.”

Grassley said that it was hypocritical of Obama to nominate a man who had invested in the Cayman Islands in light of his comments about “other taxpayers,” a reference to the president’s frequent attacks on Mitt Romney for having offshore investments.

 

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