CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has charged that democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker trims his tax bill by hiding millions offshore. Now that claim is the subject of a new Rauner commercial.
CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley fact-checked if that statement is true.
“Hide your money in the Bahamas,” Bruce Rauner’s campaign commercial sings, claiming J.B. Pritzker has been doing so for years, stashing money offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.
In the ad, Pritzker’s the head of a bank that specializes in shorting Uncle Sam.
“We can help Illinois families like yours. We’ll hide your money offshore, far from the IRS, just like J.B. Pritzker did,” the ad states.
Is the charge true? “I’d say yes,” said CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.
For the Pritzker’s, avoiding taxes has been a family affair. J.B.’s grandfather, A.N. Pritzker, established dozens of trusts. In 2008, the New York Times declared, “The Pritzker’s were pioneers in using tax loopholes to shelter their holdings from the internal revenue service.”
J.B. Pritzker, however, insists “those entities were not created by me.”
The Chicago Tribune discovered J.B. had interests in 11 Bahamas trusts created within the last ten years, with two created specifically to benefit him.
It is ironic, said CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley, since a major theme of Pritzker’s campaign has been “everyone should pay their fair share.”
“Just think what your budget could be if you avoided paying taxes,” the ad said.
In response, the Pritzker campaign calls the ad, “Yet another desperate attack from Bruce Rauner, who not only has personal investments in the Caymans, but as a businessman, set up bank accounts there.”
The Rauner ad also claims, “Considering our man J.B.’s plan to raise taxes on every family in Illinois, there’s no better time to open an account than today.”
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley says that claim is false. Pritzker has pledged to raise taxes on the rich, not on every Illinois family, although he has refused to provide specifics.
The Rauner campaign estimates Pritzker may avoided as much as $47 million in taxes in the last decade by transferring funds, tax-free, from those Bahama trusts to the Pritzker family’s foundation.
As for his portfolio, Governor Rauner denies having offshore investments, saying he placed his holdings in a “blind trust” before taking office and does not control where they are put to work.