Bob Corker “Kickback”
Many Republicans supported President Donald Trump and his tax reform decisions, but one outlier and outspoken Republican legislator has been Senator Bob Corker. Recently though, Corker flipped the script and now supports the new tax reform plans out laid by President Trump.
Initially, Corker voted against the tax bill because he felt that there would be more debt added to the national finances, which would negatively impact the future of America. The change in his vote was due to revisions that will result in real estate income and development investment assets being treated more favorably.
Why does the real estate tax change matter? Corker is a real estate investor, with interests in income-producing properties and development projects.
Therefore, it seems that Corker is supporting the bill because it benefits his bottom line. Democrats have called out Corker for his actions, and have called the recent changes to the bill the “Corker kickback.”
Now, are these actions by Corker actually being done to benefit himself, or is it a big understanding? Before answering this question, let’s take a look at his net worth and the assets he holds in more detail.
Bob Corker Net Worth
Bob Corker’s net worth in 2017 is more than $50.0 million. Before Corker took on the role of Senator for Tennessee, he was full of entrepreneurial spirit. He began his career as a construction worker and saved enough money to start his own construction business. Corker eventually ended up selling that business. (Source: “Top 10 Wealthiest Senators,” CBS News, last accessed December 19,2017.)
With the sale of his business, and time on his hands, he ended up investing in real estate. Then, eventually, he ended up selling a business once again. After a few years on the sideline, he made investments in NLL Holdings and McGowin Park LLC. These business interests for Corker are in the commercial real estate and development segments of the markets. (Source: “Wealth of Congress Index,” Roll Call, December 4, 2017.)
Also, Corker has a private corporation named Corker Development Corporation, which is also in the real estate sector and is focused on new developments. The rest of Corker’s net worth is made up of cash, stocks, and restaurant investments. (Source: “Annual Report for Calendar 2015: The Honorable Robert P Corker Jr. (Corker, Bob) ,” United States Senate Financial Disclosures, August 13, 2016.)
With all this said about Corker’s net worth, below are more details about whether the vote was more for self interest or for the country.
Does Corker Work for Himself or the Good of America?
It is said that when a politician is in place to make decisions, there is, at times, a bias for themselves or individuals who they know. Now, is this true for Corker? Was the change of his vote really for a personal benefit for his real estate holdings? Here are the facts.
Corker is planning to not run for re-election for the Senate. This would mean that Corker will have a lot of time on his hands to focus on his business investments. Of course, when running a business, the goal is to have as little operating cost and pay as little tax to the government as possible. By voting in favor of the tax reform bill, it does support the thesis that Corker has a self-interest.
When the announcement was made in September that Corker was not going to be a senator after the 2018 election, there was a business deal that closed around the same time. In the deal, Corker and his business partners are expected to receive more than $3.0 million in sales from tax payments made by Alabama consumers to the city of Mobile. These payments are expected to be received over the next 20 years. (Source: “Sen. Bob Corker Announces Retirement One Day After Breitbart Reports on His $3 Million Swamp Deal,” Breitbart, September 26,2017.)
Now, the above deal was completed through a law firm that donated to Corker’s senate campaign. This deal was completed through McGowin Park LLC, of which Corker is a shareholder. Based on the actions of signing the agreement and stepping down as a senator, it does reflect the possibility that Corker is looking out for his own interest rather than the people of America.
Additionally, in the past, Corker was being investigated by the FBI and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) for possible insider trading. Corker traded CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE:CBL) stock numerous times when he was in the senate, but he did not disclosure his transactions. Many of the stock trades were made roughly the same time that UBS Securities changed its rating on the stock. In that case, Corker handed over all the paperwork about the transactions, and nothing has been found that links him to insider trading. (Source: “Corker: Fed probe won’t hurt me with Trump,”Politico, May 31,2016.)
Therefore, since past actions are a good indicator of the future, it does seem that Corker’s change in his vote was done because it would benefit his bottom line. Since he is not going to run for a third term as senator, it does mean that he will focus more on his businesses, which are real estate related investments.
How Would Corker Benefit From Favoring the Tax Bill?
Under the new tax bill, Corker’s investment companies would not have to pay taxes on the corporate level. Rather, the income earned would be passed to him directly, and then there would be taxes paid on the personal level. This will benefit Corker and help create a tax rebate of up to 20% with the pass-through income.
This then should help grow the businesse investments held by Corker even faster, since there will be fewer requirements to pay taxes on each dollar. Also, this will allow him to hire more individuals and earn a higher income from the business.
Conclusion: Bob Corker Flipped Vote
In the end, it seems that Corker did vote in favor of the new tax bill because he would benefit. His first argument was that America’s future would not look great with such a debt load on the country’s balance sheet. Then, when the real estate investor area of the bill was changed, Corker was on board with the new tax reform plans. Since Corker, in the past, looked to benefit his own pocketbook, the vote in favor of the tax bill does show support to the theory that he is looking out for his own bottom line.