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Harry Reid Now Spreading Baseless Claim that Koch Brothers Don't Pay Corporate Taxes

2:11 PM, Apr 2, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Senate majority leader Harry Reid has a whole page on his official Senate.gov website devoted to revealing "THE FACTS ABOUT THE KOCH BROTHERS." One of the alleged facts promoted on Reid's website is that the Kochs do not pay any corporate taxes:

“They are known for bankrolling conservative, Libertarian and Tea Party causes and became poster boys for corporate tax reform last year when an Obama Administration official suggested Koch is organized as an S Corp. and so pays no corporate level taxes.” 

The claim that the Koch brothers don't pay corporate income taxes was first made by former White House official Austan Goolsbee, but Koch Industries lawyer Mark Holden disputed the accusation and raised the question of whether someone in the Obama administration illegally accessed the Kochs' tax returns. Goolsbee's comments led to a federal investigation--the results of which have never been released

In October 2010, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Goolsbee's claim "was wrong." But that hasn't stopped the Senate majority leader from promoting the claim four years later.

This isn't the first time Harry Reid has spread an unsubstantiated accusation that someone did not pay taxes. In 2012, Reid said--without citing any proof or named sources--that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years. "His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son," Reid said, referring to Mitt Romney and his deceased father George. "He didn't pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain."

Update: "We are disappointed Senator Reid has decided as part of his ongoing campaign against us to bring up the August 2010 false comments about our confidential tax status made by Austan Goolsbee, then a senior White House official," Koch Industries lawyer Mark Holden tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD in an email. "Mr. Goolsbee's comments led several US Senators to request [the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration] to investigate whether he illegally accessed or disclosed our confidential tax information, the results of which we have never been permitted access to."

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