White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz was grilled Wednesday by a reporter who asked if President Barack Obama was being “hypocritical” for accepting money from those attempting to use a tactic to avoid U.S. tax laws — a practice the president has condemned.
“The good folks at Bloomberg had a story out today about a number of the president’s top donors being those who have profited from corporate inversions — the same kind the president has condemned,” ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl said. “So I’m wondering, just a very simple question: Is the president going to be asking Democrats to return money contributed, or seeking to return money contributed by some of these corporate inversion magnates?”
“No,” Schultz bluntly answered.
“Why not?” Karl asked. “I mean, these guys are profiting off of the very practice the president has condemned and wants to see stopped.”
Schultz responded saying the White House is “not privy to the details and have no role in any individual company’s plans,” but noted “what the president is focused on is stopping the problem.”
That wasn’t enough to quell Karl.
“But isn’t this hypocritical?” he asked. “I mean, essentially the president has profited himself — his political apparatus has profited by taking contributions from people that have made money doing exactly this.”
“I guess I would understand the skepticism more if we weren’t doing something to tackle the problem,” Schultz said. “But instead, we are going after any company that renounces its U.S. citizenship in order to pay less in taxes.”
“So why not renounce those donations?” Karl pressed.
“What we’re renouncing is the practice of using shifty accounting in order to avoid paying their fair share, and which subsequently passes on to middle-class families,” Schultz reiterated.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter