Off-shore Edwards

Apr 23, 2007 12:59pm

Today’s Washington Post TAKES A LOOK at the work done by Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, for Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based investment group know for its hedge funds. Fortress’s hedge funds are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, which allowed investors to avoid or defer paying US taxes.

You may recall that during the 2004 vice president debate, Edwards criticized Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton for such offshore accounts.

"They oughta be closed," he said. "They oughta be closed for anybody. They ought to be closed whether they’re personal, and they ought to be closed whether they apply to a corporation."

You can view that video by clicking HERE.

Edwards’ 2004 presidential platform also made a big stink about this. Pre-Fortress, natch.

"It is a disgrace that American companies renounce their citizenship to reduce their taxes," Edwards wrote. "It is a disgrace that corporations can take out life insurance policies on their janitors, claim a huge tax deduction, and then keep the proceeds when that employee dies, rather than sharing them with his family. Our tax code is riddled with such loopholes, which waste our money and offend our values. This president has had several opportunities to close these very loopholes and he hasn’t. I will."

An Edwards spokeswoman told the Post that Fortress stopped letting "managing partners defer their U.S. income taxes by reinvesting profits in the offshore funds. The firm made that change when it went public late last year around the time Edwards ended his consulting arrangement."

"John Edwards believes offshore tax shelters are wrong," said Edwards spokeswoman Kate Beningfield "As president, he will end them. By voluntarily going public, Fortress has ended the practice of using offshore tax shelters for deferred compensation and has committed itself to a whole set of transparency and disclosure obligations that no other hedge fund has committed itself to before."

– jpt

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