(BISMARCK, ND) – A last-minute loophole added to the historically unpopular Republican tax bill “could personally enrich key Republican lawmakers,” such as GOP holdout Sen. Bob Corker (TN), Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) and members of the president’s personal family, all of whom own significant real estate investments and/or stakes in real estate LLCs.

According to the International Business Times:

  • “Republican congressional leaders and real estate moguls could be personally enriched by a real-estate-related provision GOP lawmakers slipped into the final tax bill released Friday evening…”
  • “The new tax provision would specifically allow owners of large real estate holdings through LLCs to deduct a percentage of their ‘pass through’ income from their taxes, according to experts…”
  • “The new provision was not in the bill passed by the House or the Senate. Instead, it was inserted into the final bill during reconciliation…”
  • The provision “would offer a special tax cut to LLCs with few employees and large amounts of depreciable property assets, namely buildings: rent generating apartment and office buildings.”

Confronted with this glaring conflict of interest, Republican lawmakers have been unable to justify its inclusion in the bill. Senator Corker (who also failed to disclose millions in personal income from real estate, hedge funds and other investments according to the Wall Street Journal) claimed to know nothing about it after he withdrew his opposition to the bill. The only explanation, offered by Senator John Cornyn (TX) the number two ranking Republican, is that the provision was added to “cobble together the votes we needed to get this bill passed.”

Maybe Congressman Cramer can offer a better explanation?

Can he provide any justification for how this real-estate-related gimmick-for-the-rich benefits working North Dakotans?