With Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain now expected to miss the final votes on the GOP tax bill in the Senate this week as chemotherapy for his advanced brain cancer continues, the focus turns to Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, who now has to answer for his sudden and last-second yes vote as critics have found a provision slipped into the Senate bill that will personally benefit Corker by millions of dollars.
In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn, denied knowing about a controversial last-minute provision slipped into the Republican tax bill that could personally enrich him. Corker, the lone Republican to vote against the original Senate bill, which didn't include the provision, also admitted he has not read the final tax bill he announced he will support.
A trio of Democratic Senators, meanwhile, slammed the provision, which was first reported on by IBT.
Corker’s vote is considered pivotal in the closely divided Senate and he could be in a position to make or break the landmark legislation. He declared his support for the final reconciled version of the bill on Friday after GOP lawmakers added a provision that could benefit his vast real estate holdings -- a provision that Corker denied having any knowledge of.
In a series of rapid-fire telephone interviews, Corker asked IBT for a description of the provision, and then criticized it. But minutes later, he called back to walk back that criticism, saying he wanted to further study the issue, and that it was more complex than he initially understood it to be. Despite potentially holding the fate of the entire tax bill in his hands, Corker told IBT that he has only read a short summary of the $1.4 trillion legislation.
“I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership,” said Corker. “I never saw the actual text.” Despite not reading the bill -- and having time to read it before the final vote scheduled for this week -- he reiterated his support for the bill to IBT, support he announced hours before bill’s full text was publicly released on Friday.
So Corker was a yes on the bill without reading it. And then IBT catches him in the act of raiding the till.
Corker called IBT to respond to a series of IBT investigative reports showing that he switched his vote to “yes” on the tax legislation, only after Republican leaders added in a provision reducing taxes on income from real-estate LLCs. Federal records reviewed by IBT show Corker, a commercial real estate mogul, made up to $7 million last year from such income. President Donald Trump's financial disclosures listed between $41 million and $68 million of the same income.
After the report, Corker called IBT and asked for a detailed description of the provision, insisting he did not know about. After the provision was described, he said: “If I understand what [the provision] does, it sounds totally unnecessary and borderline ridiculous.”
A few minutes later, however, Corker called back, and tried to back off that criticism.
“I don’t really know what the provision does to be honest. I would need an accountant to explain it,” Corker said. “I had no knowledge of this and would have no knowledge of it except for you guys are calling me about it. I have no idea whatsoever whether it impacts me or doesn’t impact me.”
Corker you see would benefit from the same multi-million dollar tax break that a certain temper-tantrum tossing tangerine tyrant in training would benefit from, a provision slipped into the Senate bill text in the last minute. He knows it, Trump knows it, and now the people know it.
The GOP is raiding the treasury on the way out before the economy collapses into a depression, and they're not even bothering to hide it. How many other GOP senators got a kickback like Corker to screw their constituents?
They're planning to vote this week before we can find out.