Pushing Back on the ‘Corker Kickback’

Pushing Back on the ‘Corker Kickback’


Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who said Friday he’d vote for the bill despite his previous objections to its deficit-raising effects, got caught in a firestorm of criticism over the weekend after the International Business Times reported Saturday on the late addition of the tax break that could deliver a windfall to him, President Trump and other members of Congress with large, income-producing real estate holdings.

Corker said he wasn’t aware of the new provision, and in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) he asked how the break got added to the bill. That didn’t stop the #CorkerKickback hashtag from trending on Twitter, where critics on the left slammed the senator for flipping his vote and called for him to release his tax returns.

Corker’s denying knowledge of the changes also didn’t play well. Martin Sullivan of Tax Analysts tweeted that “now we have absurd situation where senator is trying to prove to public he did not know what was in the bill. He is admitting he did not read, understand or review it--not even close. Yet he will vote for it.”

On Monday, Hatch responded with a letter of his own admitting that he had authored the new provision and that Corker had nothing to do with it. Hatch also wrote that the claim “that a new pass-through proposal was created out of whole cloth and inserted into the conference report is an irresponsible and partisan assertion that is belied by the facts.”