There have been few progressives as angry about off-shore investment accounts as Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL). In 2011, not coincidentally while Mitt Romney readied his presidential campaign, Grayson wrote at the Huffington Post that Barack Obama should order “the IRS to audit every one of the Fortune 500” corporations. Grayson wanted to stop them from “evading taxes through transfer pricing and offshore tax havens.”
Grayson may have known more about that than first thought. Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times found out that Grayson himself had incorporated two funds in the Caymans later that same year, the same kind of tax structure that Grayson found so distasteful in January 2011. Based on disclosure statements, Grayson has somewhere between $5 million and $25 million put away in the fund, although he’s drawing no income from it.
Smith reached out to Grayson for an explanation, and the Congressman re-elected by Floridians responded in the kind of calm, wise manner that we’ve come to expect from him:
In a phone interview Wednesday, Grayson said the funds were incorporated in Grand Cayman at the advice of an attorney he declined to name. It was a vehicle for foreign investors to invest in his funds while limiting their tax liabilities, he said, but no money had been invested in them yet.
“There are no investors in those funds or that fund as the case may be,” said Grayson, who said he thought only one fund was incorporated in the Caymans.
“When I set up my investment funds I set it up like everyone else,” Grayson said, complaining about theTampa Bay Times looking for “some stupid, bull—- story. … You want to write sh– about it, and you can’t because not a single dollar of taxes has been avoided,” he snapped.
Grayson wasn’t done. Smith asked whether it was appropriate for a sitting Congressman to open a fund in the Caymans for foreign investors while remaining in office, regardless of whether he’s recruited any investors or not. Once again, Grayson pondered the nuances of the issue before offering a rational discourse on the lack of conflicts of interest:
“Are you f——- kidding? I set up a fund that might solicit foreign investors….I have no present intention of soliciting foreign investors,” he said. “Your perception issue is bull—-.”
“This is even worse than Grayson’s girlfriend might run for congress 18 months from now,” referring to a recent Politico story attributed to no named sources. “This is a whole nother level of bull—-….Are are you some kind of sh—–g robot? You go around sh—-g on on people?”
Marc Caputo and Elana Schneider note that Grayson currently is mulling a run for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat, which makes the question of Cayman funds for future foreign investors even more interesting. The DSCC has decided to back Patrick Murphy over Grayson, which reportedly resulted in another colorful outburst from the Congressman:
Grayson, who wouldn’t comment on his tirades, didn’t dispute participating in a difficult phone call a few weeks previously with DSCC Chairman Jon Tester, who informed the representative that the committee would likely soon endorse Rep. Patrick Murphy. Grayson denied he directly swore at Tester — as two sources alleged — but he wouldn’t comment on what he said.
“What’s the deal here? You publish whatever colorful lies people toss your way, for their own obvious political purposes?” Grayson asked via text message.
Tester’s spokesman at the DSCC declined to comment. However, in multiple interviews with Democrats from Washington to Florida, it’s clear that the Montana senator tried to pressure Grayson to stay out of the Senate race because Democratic establishment figures believe he’s unelectable in a statewide race.
“You’re making a mistake,” Grayson said, likening Murphy to a piece of excrement. “When I’m a senator, it’s going to be hard to work together.”
The foreign-investor issue can’t possibly be keeping the DSCC from backing Grayson, considering the tens of millions the Democrats’ presumed presidential frontrunner has pocketed through the speeches of her husband during her tenure at State. Tester and his colleagues must just be jealous of the sunny disposition Grayson exhibits at all times. Either that, or they want to prevent the difficulties of working together with a Senator Grayson as much as they possibly can. If it takes a few “s—-ing robots” to block Grayson’s path, so be it.