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On Tuesday, Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen will come before the Senate Finance Committee for her confirmation hearing. That hearing took on a bit more drama after New Year’s Eve, when Yellen’s financial disclosure forms revealed she made millions of dollars giving speeches to Wall Street banks.

As one might expect, news of the incoming Treasury secretary making millions from Wall Street institutions, many of which she would regulate, caused concern among the progressive left. But given the way she paid taxes on those speaking fees, Yellen’s actions raise as many concerns about the actions of the man who appointed her: Joe Biden.

Millions from Wall Street

According to her financial disclosure form filed with the Office of Government Ethics, Yellen made more than $7.2 million giving speeches to dozens of businesses, many of them with ties to the financial sector. For instance, she received nearly $1 million from Citi for nine separate appearances, raising echoes of Hillary Clinton receiving $675,000 for three speeches to Goldman Sachs because “that’s what they offered.”

Yellen and the Biden team attempted to pre-emptively address concerns that the speaking fees raise conflicts of interest. Specifically, Yellen promised to consult Treasury ethics attorneys about any company that has paid her within the past 12 months.

Unlike Biden, She Paid All Her Taxes

But Yellen’s financial disclosure also contains a noteworthy omission, revealing that she did not funnel those speaking fees through an S-corporation to avoid paying payroll taxes on her earnings. By contrast, Biden’s financial disclosure forms list him as the president of the CelticCapri Corporation, and Jill Biden’s involvement with the Giacoppa Corporation.

I previously reported that Joe and Jill Biden created these corporations for their book and speech income. The Bidens paid income taxes on all the income they received in 2017, 2018, and 2019. But because they characterized more than $13.5 million of their $14.6 million in income those three years as corporate profits rather than wages, they avoided paying over $513,000 in payroll taxes that fund Medicare and Obamacare. Tax experts have called the Bidens’ maneuvers legally questionable, because they characterize intellectual work product—i.e., income from speeches—as corporate profits rather than wages.

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Anticipating criticism from the progressive left for Yellen’s Wall Street speeches, the Biden transition team launched a pre-emptive attack defending Yellen. An official said Yellen’s record shows she will not “pull punches when it comes to bad actors,” claiming that “she will bring the same high ethical standards and tough enforcement philosophy to Treasury.”

Unethical Biden?

But unfortunately for Team Biden, standards cut both ways. If the incoming administration wants to make Yellen into the paragon of ethical conduct, it will make the contrast between the way she paid taxes on her speaking fees, and the way the man who appointed her handled his millions in honoraria, all the more obvious.

The fact that Yellen will have jurisdiction over tax policy—and the Internal Revenue Service—adds to the drama. If Yellen felt uncomfortable using an S-corporation to avoid payroll taxes on her speaking fees from Wall Street, does that mean she believes Biden violated tax laws by doing so himself? If so, will she ask the IRS’s career civil servants to consider an audit of Biden’s returns?

Count Yellen’s speeches, and the potential conflicts they pose, as fair game in her confirmation hearings. But so too should senators ask Yellen why she didn’t use an S-corporation to avoid payroll taxes on her speech income, and what she thinks of Biden’s use of this loophole. If Yellen has the ethical standards the Biden transition team says she does, perhaps Hunter won’t be the only Biden facing an investigation about his taxes.



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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