Thank You, Mr Birkenfeld
Bradley Birkenfeld, the former international banker who blew the whistle on the largest tax fraud in U.S. history is scheduled to go to jail on January 8, 2010. Mr. Birkenfeld is responsible for the recovery of over $1 Billion in lost U.S. revenue for the U.S. Taxpayers. Leading public interest groups have strongly condemned this sentence and have urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reconsider its action. Mr. Birkenfeld was recently named Tax Analysts inaugural annual "Person of the Year."
I would like to encourage other whistleblowers and see Mr Birkenfeld's sentence reduced. And yes, I know Mr Birkenfeld stands to receive up to 30% of the tax money he helped recover under a Bush administration law. Anybody out there interested in a similar payday? Nice money.
But for me this story is more about the 19,000 US millionaires who did not pay there taxes.
In the last five minutes of the Democracy Now video, we learn how to cheat on your taxes, and that it is a crime of commission. Every one of these tax cheats checked off a box on their tax return that says they did not have any foreign accounts. Every one of these tax cheats asked UBS to not mail their statements to the USA. Every one of these tax cheats either flew to Switzerland to get their statements or had their statements hand delivered by complicit UBS employees such as Mr Birkenfeld.
I would like to know the names of these tax cheats. I would like their faces up on the Post Office wall like common criminals. I would like to know if Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is among them so I would be able to express my displeasure by not shopping at Whole Foods.
I would like to know if President Barack Obama is on this list, or Barney Frank, or Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dick Cheney or George Bush.
Hank Paulson or Timothy Geithner?
Perhaps these names should also be cross referenced against a terrorist no fly list.
Perhaps Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder's name is on this list. Perhaps you would like to call the Attorney General and ask that the Dept of Justice not be complicit in encouraging tax evasion by protecting the identities of these criminals, but rather ask that their names be made public like any other criminal.
202 353 1555
Wouldn't it be moronic if some of these tax cheats are the very same Investment Bankers who are using TARP money to get huge bonuses? What are the odds of that? 90%? 100%?
Talk about a publicity problem, wow.
Publicity, Public, Publicize.
Maybe the names of some popular CAPS bloggers are on that list. Alstry, Flea, ... Me? (I'm not). (honest). (really).
I know there are "walls of shame" for drunk drivers and deadbeat dads.
D.O.J. - 202 353 1555
If you would like to ask your Congressman if his name is on that list the number for the Congressional Switchboard is 202 224 3121.
Or ask President Barack Obama why these criminals deserve to have their identity protected directly at www.whitehouse.gov
I know a lot of you believe that wealthy people are deserving of their money because they came by it honestly through hard work.
Maybe it is time to rethink that premise.
Perhaps we could ask the IRS to profile the tax returns of people who have flown to Switzerland. That would not be "racial" profiling. That would be "habits of tax cheaters" profiling.
If you do make those calls, perhaps you would also remember to ask that Mr Birkenfeld's sentence be reduced. Had he not come forward, none of those tax cheats would have been caught. So far, none of the tax cheats are going to jail.
I am not sure why that is.
There are 19,000 names of tax cheats on that list. I bet at least a few of them are news worthy.
Mr Attorney General Holder, if I may remind you of the advice offered by a former US President:
"Speak softly, but carry a big stick".
Thank you for reading,
(Honest, I'm not on that list.)