Despite Ernst’s Promise to ‘Make Washington Squeal,’ Nonpartisan Study Details How the Ernst-Supported Tax Overhaul Amounted to Self-Dealing for Members of Congress

A new, scathing report by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity details the latest evidence of how Senator Joni Ernst’s support for the 2017 GOP Tax Scam shattered her campaign promise to ‘make Washington squeal.’

The report lays out indisputable evidence of how the Tax Scam amounted to self-dealing for members of Congress – the very type of corruption Senator Ernst vowed to weed out. But when it came time for Ernst to put her words to action, she was “thrilled” to break her promise by voting for a bill that personally enriches her fellow Washington politicians.

Ernst’s vote for the Tax Scam also made a mockery of her pledge to “take aim at wasteful spending.” The law blows up the deficit by nearly $2 trillion in order to fund massive tax breaks for corporations and billionaires, which experts warned would lead to massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Below are key points from today’s report, revealing how the 2017 GOP Tax Scam personally enriched the wealthiest members of Congress:

Vox/Center for Public Integrity: How Republicans made millions on the tax cuts they pushed through Congress

  • “When the price of Apple stock hit a then-record high in October 2018, among the shareholders counting their gains were 43 Republicans in Congress, who collectively owned as much as $1.5 million worth of the tech giant’s shares.”

  • “Cutting tax rates for companies like Apple and hundreds of other stocks they own was one of many ways Republican lawmakers enriched themselves after they passed the tax law, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of the 186-page law and members’ financial disclosure forms.”

  • “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.” “It feels to me like a kleptocracy,” said Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, DC.”

  • “Republican lawmakers also boosted the value of their stock holdings when they encouraged American corporations to repatriate money they were holding overseas. The tax law decreed that future foreign profits would not be taxed at high rates, and that previously earned profits stashed abroad — an estimated $2.7 trillion — would be taxed one time at no more than 15.5 percent.”

  • “That increase and higher dividends [caused by corporate stock buybacks] augmented the holdings of 43 Republicans who voted for the tax bill, including seven senators and their spouses who owned Apple stock in 2018”