After bludgeoning Romney, Dems oddly silent on Jack Lew’s Cayman Islands investments
posted at 4:55 pm on February 11, 2013 by Guy Benson
There are myriad reasons for conservatives to oppose Jack Lew’s nomination for Treasury Secretary. The fact that Lew recently held a substantial, and entirely legal, investment based in the Cayman Islands is not one of them. But shouldn’t liberals be livid? Last year, the Obama campaign and its surrogates furiously accused Mitt Romney of “betting against America” through his financial portfolio, which included foreign holdings — including some in the Cayman Islands. This ad painting the Republican nominee as an unpatriotic hypocrite was memorably unsparing in its demagoguery:
So if Romney represented “the problem,” how might Lew factor into Democrats’ calculus?
President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign famously trolled Mitt Romney for having bank accounts in the Cayman Islands throughout 2012, with campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt calling it proof that the Republican “bets against America.” It’s a line that was echoed during the election by Governor Martin O’Malley, the Democratic National Committee, and several web ads on Obama’s own YouTube channel, which featured at least 20 videos mentioning Romney’s Cayman accounts. A search for Cayman Islands on the Obama campaign’s website brings back more than 1200 results. But now that one of Obama’s own cabinet nominees is defending his own Cayman account, Democrats are suddenly silent on the matter.
It’s a pretty safe bet that the DNC won’t be distributing mock Cayman passports to reporters in an attempt to torpedo the president’s greedy, patriotism-challenged nominee (according to their own very recent standards). WaPo’s Marc Thiessen dives deeper into the breathtaking double standard:
Just last week, during a “60 Minutes” interview before the Super Bowl, Obama declared, “When you look at some of these deductions that certain folks are able to take advantage of, the average person can’t take advantage of them. The average person doesn’t have access to Cayman Island accounts.” It’s a recurring theme for the president. In a 2009 speech, Obama focused his ire on “a building in the Cayman Islands that had over 12,000 businesses claim this building as their headquarters” — a building called Ugland House. Obama said, “And I’ve said before, either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam. And I think the American people know which it is: The kind of tax scam that we need to end.” Well, guess who was involved in the “largest tax scam” in the world? Jack Lew. According to the New York Times, Lew’s Cayman Islands fund was based in “the notorious Ugland House, a building whose mailboxes are home to nearly 19,000 corporate entities, many of them tax shelters.”
But Lew’s situation is totally different, you see, because he’s a Democrat. It’s worth noting that the ad above also slammed Romney for supposedly outsourcing American jobs while at the helm of Bain Capital. There is zero evidence to back up this false claim, which Team Obama leveled repeatedly. Every independent fact-checker debunked this ad and others like it, verdicts that did nothing to dissuade the Obama campaign from running the spots from coast to coast. Democrats then doubled down, suggesting that Romney might be a felon … a sleazy, backdoor attempt to justify their original lies. This escalation prompted another fruitless round of rebukes from fact-checkers. Chief Obama mudslinger Stephanie Cutter breezily still affirms that she harbors no regrets over her starring role in promulgating these disproven smears. And why would she? She’s a shameless means-to-an-end hack, and her side won.