Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and another senior House Republican profited off the kind of corporate inversion deal that the Obama administration wants Congress to halt, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.
Both Boehner and Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the Republican committee chairman who oversees tax policy, reporting selling stock in Covidien Plc within nine days of an announcement that Medtronic Inc. was planning a takeover of the company. The stock price of Covidien jumped after the announcement of the deal, under which the new merged company would be based in Ireland and avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes, according to Bloomberg.
Obama has railed against this inversion maneuver as unpatriotic – the equivalent of a corporation renouncing its U.S. citizenship — but neither Boehner nor Camp have joined calls for Congress to curb the practice this year. They have both said it should be addressed in a broader overhaul of the tax code, which isn't going to pass anytime soon.
Bloomberg cited public disclosure filings in its report. The actions by the lawmakers were legal, and their spokesmen told Bloomberg that their bosses had no knowledge of the trades because they rely on investment advisers to do their bidding. They also both still hold stock in the company.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said:
Speaker Boehner is not involved in day-to-day stock trades. He delegated that authority to an investment adviser, who has handled such transactions for years.”
Camp spokesman Sage Eastman said the Ways and Means Committee chairman "releases a full and complete disclosure of his personal finances on a regular basis. A firm handles all trades, and the chairman is not involved in the day-to-day investment decisions.”