Nov. 14, 2017
Tiberi Could Be Writing Tax Law That Would Benefit His Future Employer’s Membership
Statement of Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division
Note: U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) announced that he will be leaving Congress at the end of January to take a job as president of the Ohio Business Roundtable. Before he leaves, however, Tiberi is playing a key role in drafting the Republicans’ new tax bill which will likely have a direct impact on members of the Roundtable. While congressional ethics rules require that members recuse themselves from matters in which there is a conflict of interest with an immediate future private employer, Tiberi claims any conflict is too remote to disqualify his involvement in the legislation.
It is alarming that Rep. Pat Tiberi announced on one day that he is taking a lucrative job heading the Ohio Business Roundtable, and on the next day dives into drafting the Republican tax bill that is going to have a direct and substantial impact on the businesses that are members of the Roundtable and whom also hired Tiberi. This is a serious conflict of interest that could very well enrich both Tiberi’s future employer and Tiberi himself.
One must question whether the business associates of the Roundtable hired Tiberi at a very lucrative salary because of his position to influence their tax rates and tax benefits. Even if such mutual back-scratching was not deliberate, the sheer perception of a conflict of interest demands that Tiberi recuse himself from crafting and voting on the tax bill.
A little favoritism in the tax law can go a long way toward feathering the bed of both the Roundtable and its future president. The public deserves to have some level of confidence that the nation’s tax law is not being written simply for self-dealing purposes.