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Wisconsin Newspaper Slams Sen. Johnson As 'Grifter'

Photo by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A recent report by ProPublica, published on August 11, found that Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin made the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 even more generous to the ultra-rich by insisting that it include a major tax break for what are called "pass-through" companies — and by doing so, the far-right Republican made his cronies even richer. ProPublica's report is the focus of a scathing editorial by a Wisconsin-based publication: the Madison-based Capital Times, which slams Johnson as a "con artist" who "stands out as the senator whose grifting costs taxpayers — in Wisconsin and nationwide — the most."

In its report, ProPublica explained how much Johnson's cronies benefitted from his insistence that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act include his provision for pass-through companies.

Pro-Publica reported, "Johnson's last-minute maneuver benefited two families more than almost any others in the country; both are worth billions and both are among the senator's biggest donors. Dick and Liz Uihlein of packaging giant Uline, along with roofing magnate Diane Hendricks, together had contributed around $20 million to groups backing Johnson's 2016 reelection campaign. The expanded tax break that Johnson muscled through netted them $215 million in deductions in 2018 alone, drastically reducing the income they owed taxes on."

In response to that reporting, the Capital Times' editorial board writes, "Even for the billionaire class, that's an epic windfall. Johnson, who was worth around $40 million before the pandemic, has a long record of voting for legislation that benefits the owners of so-called 'limited-liability' corporations, like the one he owns with his wife. But as the political outsider became a political careerist, he has expanded his grifting to serve the interests of those who have kept him in office up to this point."

The editorial continues, "Johnson has not announced his bid for reelection in 2022, but there are growing signals that — despite a promise to limit himself to two terms — he will run again. It will be a tough race for him, so he'll need all the billionaire backing he can get to explain away his reputation as a conspiracy theorist who embraces Trump's Big Lie about the 2020 election and rejects science when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic."

The Capital Times concludes by quoting Wisconsin Democrat Tom Nelson and agreeing with his view of Johnson: "Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, one of the Democrats seeking Johnson's seat, summed the sordid circumstance up best when he observed, 'Johnson took $20 million from Wisconsin's wealthiest right-wing billionaires, then fought to get them gigantic tax breaks. He's not a fiscal conservative, he's a corrupt errand boy for the ultra-rich.'"

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