President Bush has said he wants to ?make sure that the system is fair for those of us who do pay taxes? and that ?we want everybody paying their fair share.?1 But yesterday, the president went out of his way to lavish a massive government contract on a major campaign contributor,2 even though it specifically moved operations offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
According to news reports, the Bush administration yesterday gave a $10 billion contract3 for the Department of Homeland Security to Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting, which was a part of Andersen Worldwide with Arthur Andersen.), despite the company having recently moved its official headquarters to Bermuda to avoid U.S. taxes.4 The contract was awarded less than two years after the White House and its allies in Congress gutted a House-passed provision that would have banned awarding homeland security contracts to corporations who exploit tax loopholes, move offshore, and avoid U.S. taxes.5 At the time, Accenture lobbied to eliminate the provision,6 hiring GOP political consultant ?and Bush family confidant? Charlie Black to lobby on its behalf.7 Accenture executives have given President Bush more than $68,000 in campaign contributions8 since 2000.
Of course, the president has made a practice of paying lip service to the problem of corporate tax evasion, while actively opposing solutions behind the scenes. ABC News reported that when Congress was considering bills to curb the practice in 2002, Bush ?said the Bermuda loophole should be closed? but refused to support ?any of the bills that would do so?9 and then allowed his allies to kill the legislation.
1. Presidential Speech, WhiteHouse.gov, 04/15/04.
2. “Donors to George W. Bush between 2000-2004 who work for Accenture,” Opensecrets.org.
3. “Homeland Security awards $10 billion border security contract,” WVEC-TV, 6/02/04.
4. “GAO concludes Accenture, others, use tax havens,” Washington Technology, 10/3/02.
5. Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 12/6/02.
6. Baltimore Sun, 6/9/02.
7. “The Taxonomist: Standing up Against America,” The American Prospect, 11/4/02.
8. “Donors to George W. Bush between 2000-2004 who work for Accenture,” Opensecrets.org.
9. ABC News, 07/12/02.