By now, everyone that’s been paying attention knows of the Panama Papers and the scandal that has erupted across the globe. Millions of pages of confidential information has been revealed regarding the names of hundreds of thousands of offshore corporations, their shareholders, directors and others “listed by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca.” All of them sought to evade paying their rightful share of taxes by sending their money banks in to Panama, a notorious tax haven, that benefited greatly from a 2011 treaty with the United States commonly known as The U.S. Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.
This treaty, negotiated by George Bush, was signed by President Obama, even though many prominent critics (and the one virtually unknown democratic socialist) warned that “the pact would make it easier for rich Americans and corporations to set up offshore corporations and bank accounts and avoid paying many taxes altogether.” Indeed, an International Monetary Fund investigation into Panama’s banking regulations and safeguards discovered that:
[G]aping holes still exist. The country’s anti-money laundering law, for example, is designed to regulate banks and other financial institutions. But the IMF found that the law didn’t cover lawyers, accountants, insurance companies, notaries, real estate agents or dealers of precious metals and stones.
“Because Panama is an important international financial and corporate services center…this lack of coverage is a key systemic deficiency,” the report found.
Many politicians and celebrities (say it ain’t so, David Geffen) have been caught up in the scandal. Yet none of the usual suspects, prominent American billionaires and/or the cash rich multinational corporations in which many of them hold large ownership stakes, appear on the list of those named in the Panama Papers. However, at last, a few American citizens have been identified as tax cheats, people who exploited U.S., Panamanian and international law out of greed or the selfish desire to make America great again, but only for them, by shielding their ill-gotten gains from the IRS. Who are they?
Among them: Retirees, scammers, and tax evaders, all of whom found a use for secrecy of offshore companies.
But what has this to do with Senator Bernie Sanders and his campaign, you ask. He’s Mr. Clean, right, when it comes to the way he’s raised money to fund his Quixotic quest for the presidency? Well, as Deep Throat of Watergate fame once told Bob Woodward, you need to “Follow the money.” And that, my friends, is where things get sticky for Bernie, social justice crusader and impassioned voice for the so-called 99 percent.
But to make the connection, you need to dive into the deep end of Sanders’ sordid connections to the millions of undisclosed individuals who week after week contribute to his campaign. In fact they have contributed so much money to Sanders’ presidential campaign, that he has been out-raising the mighty Hillary Clinton month after month, which is no no mean feat. Let’s take a look, shall we? Here’s what Open Secrets shows on its summary page about Senator Sanders’ sources of contributions.
Okay, what’s the first thing you notice about his donors? There are a lot of individuals. Nothing to see here, just move along, amirite? But you’ can’t stop there. As one report noted, it seems the only Americans netted by the Panama Papers have been the “small fish.” And who are Sanders’ financial backers if not small fry themselves? Fine and dandy, you say, but that’s a pretty thin thread on which to base a charge that he’s been taking dirty money to fund his campaign.
Or is it?
You need to dig a deeper. Let’s examine a what we know about Bernie’s biggest group of financial supporters. Take a look at this breakdown of those contributors, again from Open Secrets:
Ding! Ding! Ding! Do you see what I see? It right there, hiding in open sight. Who are Bernie’s biggest financial backers? Retirees! And to the tune of over THREE MILLION DOLLARS (and counting, since these numbers are only current as of the end of February). And who are the Americans who we know have been shipping their money to Panama to escape the long arm of the Treasury Department? Retirees!
The consortium has so far identified more than 200 people with U.S. addresses who own companies in the leaked data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Some appear to be retirees purchasing real estate in places like Costa Rica and Panama …
And it gets worse for Bernie. Remember that IMF investigation that found Panama’s financial regulations didn’t even cover “lawyers … real estate agents or dealers of precious metals and stones.” Well guess who shows up among the groups of people who support Bernie Sanders the most? Lawyers (well over $1 Million) and people involved in the “real estate” industry ($442,374). And real estate is exactly the investment retirees have been making in Panama, retirees who, as we now know, are Bernie’s biggest backers!
Not to mention dealers who invest in precious metals and stones manage to escape Panamanian scrutiny of their transactions. Hmmm. Anything about that tidbit set off any alarm bells? Just read the title to this Vanity Fair article:
How a Ragtag Gang of Retirees Pulled Off the Biggest Jewel Heist in British History
I’m just saying, if a bunch of old geezers could pull this off in Great Britain, just imagine what the same criminal demographic might very well have gotten away with here, in the good old USA. Plus, old people are well known buyers of gold. Why else would so many precious metals dealers actively go out of their way to seek their business?
So, Senator Sanders (the candidate who “claims” he’s only worth $330,000), it’s time to answer the hard questions about how you’re able to finance your campaign without any billionaire backers, unlike Hillary Clinton, whose billionaire donors openly and proudly admit they’re behind her 1,000 percent.
Pritzker and his wife, Mary Kathryn (known as M.K.), are among the top five donors to outside spending groups backing Clinton, contributing more than $2.8 million to Priorities USA, a political action committee (PAC) that supports Clinton and can legally take unlimited donations. Pritzker and his wife, who each donated $1 million in January, will contribute more, he says, if necessary. He declined to say exactly how much he’s willing to spend, but the 51-year-old Chicagoan, who is worth an estimated $3.3 billion, is calling this election “one of the most important of my life.”
Hillary has come clean, Mr. Bird Man. Now it’s time for you to come out of the murky shadows of the media’s deliberate failure to properly vet your candidacy, and tell the truth about who really are your biggest supporters. Unless, that is, you and your campaign can’t handle the truth.
So please, just tell us who are all those people going to your website or your Act Blue page to give to your amazing, one might even say miraculous, run for the presidency of these United States. Inquiring minds want to know.