Left pushes to trim JPMorgan tax breaks on settlement

Liberal advocacy groups are mounting pressure on the Justice Department to bar JPMorgan from deducting from the bank’s taxes any portion of a broad government settlement in the works.

The reportedly $13 billion settlement over the bank’s mortgage activities before the financial crisis, which is still being hammered out, would be the largest such settlement in U.S. history. But reports that JPMorgan is seeking use up to $4 billion of the settlement as a tax write-off has led to protests from liberal groups and lawmakers.

On Monday, two groups delivered over 160,000 petitions to the Justice Department calling for barring any potential tax benefit. The groups, U.S. PIRG and Americans for Tax Fairness, argue it is patently unfair for taxpayers to help subsidize JPMorgan’s fines through the tax code.

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“The American people were already victimized once by Wall Street’s malfeasance. They should not be victimized again by having to pick up more of the tab,” said Frank Clemente, campaign manager for Americans for Tax Fairness. “The Obama administration should be helping homeowners with underwater mortgages, not be giving tax breaks to the banks that put them there.”

 The potential tax perk has also attracted attention on Capitol Hill. Five U.S. senators wrote to Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderDNC chairman: Trump’s tax cuts and budget plans are 'morally bankrupt' Holder: Trump's election fraud claims are laying foundation for voter suppression Dem rep: Jim Crow's 'nieces and nephews' are in the White House MORE Tuesday, urging him to explicitly prevent any tax writeoffs under the settlement. That letter was signed by Sens. Mazie HironoMazie HironoDem lawmaker to Sessions: 'You are a racist and a liar' March for Science rallies draw huge crowds around US Dems knock Trump on Earth Day MORE (Hawaii), Bill NelsonBill NelsonLawmakers stare down challenge of cyber-enabled ‘fake news’ United explains passenger removal to senators Overnight Cybersecurity: Ex-officials warn 'Buy American' might harm Pentagon cybersecurity | Chair nudges Trump on cyber order | House gets security training MORE (Fla.), Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichOvernight Finance: Lawmakers scramble to avoid shutdown | Why some Republicans worry about Trump's tax plan | Trade tensions with Canada Dems hammer Trump for 'broken promises' in first 100 days The outdoor recreation economy is a force that is here to stay MORE (N.M.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Trump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee Pruitt drops out of GOP fundraiser after ethics complaint MORE (R.I.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate confirms Labor Secretary Acosta Meghan McCain: Obama 'a dirty capitalist like the rest of us' Warren 'troubled' by Obama's speaking fee MORE (Mass.).

In the House, Reps. Peter WelchPeter WelchTrump to continue paying ObamaCare subsidies House Democrats call for revoking Kushner’s security clearance Pelosi seeks to unify Dems on ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Vt.) and Luis GutierrezLuis GutierrezDHS hires incense immigration supporters The Democratic Party playbook must change if liberals are to win the future Army vet slated for deportation over drug charges MORE (D-Ill.) introducing legislation barring companies from using the tax code to deduct costs from government settlements, and Welch also sent a letter to the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, urging him to avoid the writeoff.

While the bulk of the settlement is still being finalized, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced in October it had struck a $4 billion settlement with the bank, after it charged JPMorgan broke securities laws when it sold securities loaded with risky mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.