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The case of Bradley Birkenfield

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Holman Jenkins:

Is there anything redeeming to be found in the adventures of Bradley Birkenfeld, the UBS whistleblower whose tale is sordidness piled on sordidness?

Mr. Birkenfeld is the soon-to-be-paroled felon on whom this week was bestowed a $104 million IRS bounty for exposing the activities of his former employer, the giant Swiss bank UBS, in helping Americans dodge U.S. taxes.

Mr. Birkenfeld got his reward not because he discovered tax evasion going on at UBS. He was a prime instigator of it, trolling the watering holes of North America for the rich and nervous. His now-famous exploits include delivering diamonds to one client concealed in a toothpaste tube. ...

The author of the whistleblower law that so benefited Mr. Birkenfeld was none other than prairie populist Sen. Charles Grassley, who issued a statement this week: "An award of $104 million is obviously a great deal of money, but billions of dollars in taxes owed will be collected that otherwise would not have been paid." ...

Need we add that Mr. Grassley's longtime aide, who actually drafted the whistleblower law, now represents Mr. Birkenfeld and stands to collect an interesting percentage of the award Mr. Grassley so obligingly applauds?

Read the whole thing. More on whistleblower laws.

1 Comment

It does seem to make a good case for instituting a windfall profit tax of, oh...say... 99.9%.

One question: Is he allowed to income average?

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

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