Overnight Finance: Hatch announces retirement from Senate | What you can expect from new tax code | Five ways finance laws could change in 2018 | Peter Thiel bets big on bitcoin

Overnight Finance: Hatch announces retirement from Senate | What you can expect from new tax code | Five ways finance laws could change in 2018 | Peter Thiel bets big on bitcoin
© Greg Nash

Hatch announces retirement from Senate: Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchJudiciary Dems say GOP treating Kavanaugh accuser worse than Anita Hill Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (R-Utah), the longest-serving GOP senator in U.S. history, announced Tuesday that he'll retire at the end of his term -- a decision that could clear the path for Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMaher makes million donation to Democratic Senate super PAC Poll: House GOP candidate leads in California swing district Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE to replace him in the Senate.

Hatch, 83, made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter. Hatch's retirement comes despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE's public encouragement for Hatch to run for reelection.

"I've always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington," Hatch said in the video. "But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching."

ADVERTISEMENT

The 83-year-old senator appeared to be signaling in recent weeks that he'd run for an eighth term in 2018, even though he previously said he'd retire when his term is up in January 2019.

The powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman played a significant role in helping Republicans pass a major tax overhaul and was also integral in the White House's decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah. Trump has been showering praise on Hatch, who he called a "true fighter" during a Salt Lake City speech in early December. The Hill's Lisa Hagen reports: http://bit.ly/2qfj1Vp.

 

Five ways financial laws could change in 2018: Republicans have made limited progress on President Trump's pledge to "dismantle" the Dodd-Frank Act, which the GOP had hoped to gut by the end of 2017. But the GOP and independent regulators could still make critical changes to key parts of the law's legacy.

With a conservative new director for the consumer protection bureau, bipartisan interest in amending parts of Dodd-Frank and the GOP focused on pulling back a few key rules, I've got five ways finance laws could change in 2018: http://bit.ly/2qhAkFk.

 

What to expect when Trump's tax law takes effect: President Trump's new tax law makes changes to the code that will shape decisions made from individual filers to massive corporations.

The new law, which for the most part took effect Jan. 1, is already influencing taxpayers' behavior, with some companies announcing bonuses and hordes of citizens in high-tax states rushing to prepay their property taxes.

As the measure goes into effect, individuals and businesses will have lots of questions, and many will engage in new planning strategies to get their tax bills as low as possible.

Meanwhile, the IRS will be pressed to issue a slew of new guidance to address areas of the law that lack clarity and to prevent the new code from being exploited.

"It's going to be kind of tumultuous over the next several months and years," said John Gimigliano, principal in charge of federal tax legislative and regulatory services at KPMG.

Here are some of the things to expect as the new tax law takes effect, from The Hill's Naomi Jagoda: http://bit.ly/2qh8n0F.

 

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Overnight Finance. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

 

Ex-Obama Treasury secretary says Trump tax cuts 'leaving us broke': Former Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE expressed concerns about the new GOP tax law's impact on the debt, arguing it is "leaving us broke" and could lead to cuts in social safety net programs.

"I fear that the next shoe to drop is going to be an attack on the most vulnerable in our society," Lew said in a Bloomberg interview. "How are we going to pay for the deficit caused by the tax cut? You're going to see proposals to cut health insurance from poor people, to take basic food support away from poor people, to attack Medicare and Social Security."

"One could not have made up a more cynical strategy," he added.

Lew, who led the Treasury Department during former President Obama's second term, said that the U.S. is in need of more jobs training, education and infrastructure, rather than more debt at a time when the economy doesn't need a fiscal stimulus.

"What we've seen is a tax cut that spends money we don't have, to have very concentrated benefits for global corporations and the top 1 percent, and it's leaving us broke so that we cannot deal with these fundamental problems," he said. http://bit.ly/2qbMgc0.

 

Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneAnother Roger Stone associate meets with grand jury Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Roger Stone associates questioned about ties to WikiLeaks for Mueller probe: report MORE retroactively registers lobbying contract: Roger Stone, a longtime political operative with ties to President Trump, has retroactively registered as a lobbyist for a venture capital firm wanting to invest in commodities in Somalia. 

His registration, which showed up in a federal lobbying disclosure database last week, says the work began on May 1 of last year.

Stone is working for Capstone Financial Group, a firm based in New York, which "buys physical commodities and transforms them into customized and consumable products," its website reads.

The advocacy work, according to the disclosure forms, revolves around "[c]ommodity rights and security of the same in Somalia."

Somalia has one of the largest herds of livestock in the world, according to the Somali Stock Exchange, which makes it the most commonly traded commodity in the country: http://bit.ly/2qhETzK.

 

Russia developing cryptocurrency to evade sanctions: Russian officials are developing a cryptocurrency intended to help the country evade international financial sanctions, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has commissioned government agencies to work on a "cryptorouble," the FT reported, citing Moscow officials.

The cryptocurrency would be another way to complete financial transactions in roubles, Russia's currency, while evading sanctions that limit the country's financing options.

Russia is still ways off from releasing the cryptorouble, FT reported. But a state-run cryptocurrency could hinder attempts by the United States to hinder Russia's economy: http://bit.ly/2qcRBQj.

 

Peter Thiel's firm holds hundreds of millions in bitcoin: Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has amassed hundreds of millions in bitcoin, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Founders Fund, Thiel's venture capital firm, is betting on cryptocurrency across a number of recent funds, including one that started in 2017 with its first investments in bitcoin.

According to the newspaper's sources, Founders purchased between 15 and 20 million dollars' worth of bitcoin, which is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It's unclear if the firm has sold any of these holdings.

Founders's move to actually purchase bitcoins is a split from other venture capital firms which have tended instead to invest in companies and technology that use bitcoin, as opposed to investing in the currency directly.

The move is paying off for Thiel at the moment. The bitcoin investment is estimated to be the most valuable part of a new $1.3 billion fund, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Since news broke of Thiel's holdings in the currency, bitcoin has shot up from roughly $14,146 to $14,569, based on its value on the Coinbase exchange: http://bit.ly/2qa2OAW.

 

Goldman Sachs to give execs early bonuses due to Trump tax law: Goldman Sachs gave roughly $100 million in stock awards to some of its top executives early, due to upcoming changes in the tax code, according to a report from CNN.

The company said it had moved the awards, initially slated for 2018, because of changes to the U.S. tax law. The move is expected to save the company money.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was among the executives to receive the stock awards. 

The network reports that public filings on Friday show 10 of the finance company's top executives were set to get stock awards next month, however, the stock grants totaling $94.8 million were given in December.

President Trump signed the sweeping Republican tax bill into law earlier this month, marking his administration's first major legislative achievement: http://bit.ly/2qhKDcM.

 

Rubio: GOP tax bill 'probably went too far' to help corporations: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' MORE (R-Fla.) said in an interview published Friday that Republicans "probably went too far" cutting corporate taxes in their just-enacted overhaul of the tax code.

Rubio said he expects corporations to pay out higher dividends to shareholders and buy back shares to increase their stock price with proceeds from the bill.

"You're going to see a lot of these multinationals buy back shares to drive up the price," Rubio told the southwest Florida-based News-Press.

"Some of them will be forced, because they're sitting on historic levels of cash, to pay out dividends to shareholders," Rubio said. "That isn't going to create dramatic economic growth."

The GOP tax bill reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Republicans have insisted that the corporate tax cut would yield higher wages and more jobs for U.S. workers: http://bit.ly/2qfCKVa.

 

From The Hill's opinion pages

Legally, slashing federal payrolls won't save us any money

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents best of America

USPS cronyism is unaffordable for shippers and customers

America can reform welfare with important lessons from Europe