Wilmington, DE — Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama disingenuously called for international tax reform in the wake of the massive leak of millions of documents from Panamanian-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
“There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem,” Obama told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal.”
In what amounted to a complete dog and pony show, meant to appease the masses, Obama said the Panama Papers illustrated the immense scale of tax avoidance by Fortune 500 companies, which is estimated at trillions of dollars worldwide.
The calls for reform ring hollow as Obama remained conveniently mum on the companies operating within the US providing a tax haven for the world’s elite.
The words of Andrew Penney, managing director of Rothschild & Co., were extremely clear to international investors, as noted in a written draft for a presentation in San Francisco in which he wrote that the U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world.”
One of these such havens is a single address in Wilmington, Delaware. 1209 North Orange Street, according to the Washington Free Beacon, has become known in recent years as the epicenter of U.S. corporate secrecy. The squat, split-level building is the official address of over 285,000 companies, many of which are looking to take advantage of Delaware’s Panama-like secrecy rules, tax incentives, and business-friendly case law.
What sets this shell company factory aside from the rest is the fact that within those 285,000 business fronts, is a company owned by Democratic Presidential candidate, and likely the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.
Hillary and Bill Clinton quietly set up two shell companies listed at “1209 North Orange Street” in 2008 and 2013, the Washington Free Beacon has found. The names of the companies, but not their location, were first made public in tax filings released by Hillary Clinton last year.
According to records, one of the Clintons’ “1209 North Orange Street” companies is WJC, LLC, which was set up by Bill Clinton in 2008 as a pass-through for his consulting fees.
Another company at the same location, ZFS Holdings, LLC, was set up in February 2013, one week after Hillary Clinton left the State Department. Hillary Clinton received $5.5 million from her book publisher, Simon & Schuster, through the company.
“If you imagined a building with 1,000 corporations in it, you’d imagine a building like the Empire State building,” said Richard Phillips, a senior policy analyst with Citizens for Tax Justice. “But apparently 285,000 companies claim [1209 North Orange Street] is their address.”
“What this shows is this is not really the address of companies that are doing real business. This is the address of a lot of companies that are just shell companies,” he added. “In this case, it doesn’t even look like they have mailboxes. They just claim that address as the places they’re doing business, even though they’re not doing business there.”
The reason Delaware is such a popular state to house corporate entities is because of their lax laws and unique litigation processes that allow companies to shield themselves from liability and operate in secrecy.
On the state’s own website, they openly brag about these selling points.
As the Free Beacon points out, Delaware’s laws rival those of well-known secrecy havens like Panama and the Cayman Islands.
“General secrecy laws and the ability of these corporations to hide the identities of those who own it, that’s what makes [Delaware] an onshore tax haven, and that’s what makes it just as bad as the Cayman Islands,” said Phillips.
Ironically enough, this hypocrite of a presidential candidate spoke out about corruption and tax loopholes and how they must be reined in just last week, after the leak.
“Some of you may have just heard about these disclosures about outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting in Panama and elsewhere,” she told the AFL-CIO. “We’re going after all these scams and make sure that everyone pays their fair share here in America. I’m gonna hold them accountable and we’re gonna have a special effort to track all these resources wherever they might lead.”
Apparently Hillary Clinton has yet to meet Hillary Clinton, or she would have turned herself in right then. But as the public has begun to learn, Hillary Clinton’s criminal history has no bearing on her political success as she operates outside of the laws which govern the peasantry.
It is important to note that Clinton’s Delaware-based companies have not been implicated in any criminal acts as it is perfectly legal for anyone, including out of state residents to form business entities in the state. That being said, because of Delaware’s lax legal regulations, corporations intentionally choose this state to legally circumvent taxes in other states.
“It’s legal tax avoidance,” said Phillips. “We would say it’s immoral, or not the best thing for the country.”
“Some anonymous shell companies have financed terrorism and supported corruption and human trafficking and Delaware is a traditional hub for creating these fake companies,” said Andrew Hanauer, campaign director at the Jubilee USA Network.
The idea that the ruling class would act in such an ominous manner while holding the rest of the citizens to the fire for every last dime in tax dollars should come as no surprise. However, the rate at which the oligarchy is being publicly exposed recently for their corrupt practices is staggering — but even more staggering than that is the rate at which they are held accountable. That rate is zero.