There was a time when American politicians were concerned about the nation and the people who voted them into office. Now, Donald Trump and the Republican Party have twisted the nation’s democratic model like a Möbius strip. The only thing our elected officials seem to care about is their own bottom lines and the profitability of their positions. The pending GOP Tax Scam is a prime example of their misplaced loyalties.
Late Friday, as the GOP plan faced another rushed and tenuous vote, drafters added last minute provisions that appear to have enticed a few more crucial votes from holdouts. Rather than place their hard-working American families and constituents above their already inflated pocketbooks, the desperation incentives seemed to have worked their magic. Late Friday, holdout senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) indicated that he would likely add a critical ‘yes’ vote to the tax bill to send it to Trump’s desk before Christmas.
By late Sunday, the hashtag #CorkerKickback began trending on Twitter as it was revealed that one last-minute provision would benefit Corker and others like him with high-value commercial real estate holdings. Corker’s office scrambled to distance the senator — who most recently has been critical of the Trump regime — from the latest provisions added by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
Corker’s office sent a quick memo to Hatch after published reports surfaced over the weekend that Corker’s support had seemingly been swayed by the newly added real estate provision. In the letter to Hatch, Corker asked for an “explanation of the evolution of this provision” and “how it made it into the final conference report.”
Media reports connecting Corker’s vote to a tax provision that would benefit him specifically seem to have touched a nerve — with both Corker defending himself and Twitter critics attacking the senator’s sudden support for a bill he previously voted against.
Last year, Corker earned over $7 million from his commercial real estate dealings. Opponents of the GOP tax plan have consistently complained that it benefits people like Corker and Trump and many other republican leaders who earn well above what their constituencies can even dream of. Corker’s sudden shift has left many people skeptical of whether the GOP can write a tax bill that benefits the real American public or whether the new provision is simply an add-on or not.
By late Sunday night, some critics were calling the #CorkerKickback a bribe, while others saw it as just another ploy for the republican leadership to grease their own pockets.
— Jazzy Minx (@JazzyMinx) December 18, 2017
Sen Corker voted no on the Senate tax bill because it explodes the deficit. REVISED TAX BILL ALSO EXPLODES THE DEFICIT. But Sen Corker is now a yes vote. Is it because of the #Corkerkickback? Only other explanation is
there really isn’t any other good explanation is there? https://t.co/eQH9rSnjsY
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 18, 2017
The International Business Times, which broke the story that launched the #CorkerKickback, issued a statement on Sunday defending its reporting against an onslaught of republican attacks. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Tex.) office contacted the paper and demanded that the story be rewritten and corrected to remove any implied connection between the real estate ‘perk’ and Corker. The amount of protest by republican lawmakers is disproportional to the injury and only serves to add to the growing mistrust.
Despite the controversy, Corker has not said whether he will continue to vote ‘yea’ for the tax bill now that he will have a generous tax credit if it passes. That the vote hinges on so few members of congress, however, should be a strong indicator to the America people of who is actually representing their interests. America’s democracy is cruising the express-lane on the highway to privatization of our nation and our rights. The Trump regime may not have begun the journey, but the present leadership is sure as hell going to run the bus right over the cliff to finish it.
Featured Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP