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Harry Reid makes baseless claim Koch brothers pay no corporate taxes, backtracks

Harry Reid makes baseless claim Koch brothers paid no corporate taxes.
Harry Reid makes baseless claim Koch brothers paid no corporate taxes.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

It seems the Koch brothers live rent-free in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's head. So much so that Reid has a page on his official taxpayer-funded Senate website dedicated to the Koch brothers. One of the claims Reid makes on the page is that the Kochs pay no corporate taxes, the Weekly Standard reported Wednesday.

“They are known for bankrolling conservative, Libertarian and Tea Party causes and became poster boys for corporate tax reform last year when an Obama Administration official suggested Koch is organized as an S Corp. and so pays no corporate level taxes," Reid says on his site.

The claim was initially made by former White House official Austan Goolsbee, but was disputed by Koch Industries lawyer Mark Holden, who wondered if someone in the Obama administration illegally accessed the Kochs' tax returns.

A federal investigation was launched, but the results have never been released.

Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in 2010 that Goolsbee's claim "was wrong," but that didn't stop the Koch-obsessed Reid from reiterating the claim.

"We are disappointed Senator Reid has decided as part of his ongoing campaign against us to bring up the August 2010 false comments about our confidential tax status made by Austan Goolsbee, then a senior White House official," Holden told the Weekly Standard. "Mr. Goolsbee's comments led several US Senators to request [the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] to investigate whether he illegally accessed or disclosed our confidential tax information, the results of which we have never been permitted access to."

Since the Weekly Standard's report, Reid's website was changed.

"UPDATE: The Kochs have issued a statement disputing the claim made by the official. The Kochs have supported the Ryan budget, which provides tax cuts for the wealthy and protects taxpayer subsidies for big businesses and oil companies," the site now says.

The original statement was not removed, but simply stricken through.

The question now is: Why is Harry Reid allowed to use taxpayer funds to demonize private individuals for political gain?



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