Lewis: Back Taxes are Shameful

WASHINGTON — In his opening statement today, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said it was “shameful” and “a disgrace” that a number of private corporations who received a portion of the billions in capital infusion through the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) owe back taxes.

Two of the firms owe over $100 million each.  The Oversight Subcommittee researched 23 of the top TARP recipients out of the 470 companies that received federal support.  Chairman Lewis suggested a complete review of the tax status of these companies might be very revealing.

“Taxpayers have no sense that there is any control over this money. They have no idea what, if anything, they will get in return. This entire program is based on trust – trust in the givers and trust in the takers.  At this point, there is no trust,” Lewis said.

“To get money from Treasury, banks and others must sign a contract that states they have no material unpaid Federal taxes.  Treasury did not ask these banks and companies to turn over their tax records,” Lewis added. “Treasury relied on the signed statements when it agreed to invest billions of taxpayer dollars. When you or I go to the bank to take out a mortgage to buy a house, we are asked for our tax returns. They’re not going to just take our word for it, and we are not asking for millions of dollars.”

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