Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) went after billionaire J.B. Pritzker (D) for his finances on Tuesday, “suggesting that the only way the billionaire could have reported just $16 million in income last year was if he was a lousy investor or a sneaky tax dodger — or both.”
“The Rauner campaign released a statement on Tuesday morning, accusing the Pritzker family of a ‘history of off-shore holdings and avoiding taxes.’ At issue is the lack of information about Pritzker’s trusts.
“In response, the Pritzker campaign eventually denied the tax evasion allegations,” saying “the trusts involve ‘other people, businesses, etc and it would be improper to reveal this info because he is running for governor.’” (Chicago Sun-Times)
OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS. Even as Rauner attacked Pritzker for offshore assets, he admitted “that some of his own fortune could be socked away there as well. … Rauner had his own troubles explaining his tax bill in 2014, after his returns revealed that most of the millions he’d made in the years leading up to his candidacy had been taxed at 15 percent, less than half the top federal rate for the wealthy” by employing a tax avoidance strategy. “Rauner’s economic disclosure forms when he first ran for governor revealed that he was an investor in several of” the private equity form “GTCR’s investment pools registered in the Cayman Islands.
“Asked Tuesday about his current holdings in offshore investments, Rauner dismissed the question as ‘spin.’” (Chicago Tribune)
BISS BITES. While Rauner and Pritzker sparred over their finances, state Sen. Daniel Biss’ (D) campaign called the candidates “two sides of the same shiny gold coin,” adding that “success in business doesn’t equate to success in government.” (Capitol Fax)
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"The Trump administration on Thursday announced that the U.S. will now officially act to deter and respond to cyberattacks with offensive actions against foreign adversaries. The U.S.'s new cyber strategy, signed by President Trump, marks the federal government officially taking a more aggressive approach to cyber threats presented from across the globe."
The Trump Administration will sanction China over the purchase of Russian-made fighter jets and anti-aircraft weapons systems. "The sanctions are being imposed pursuant to the 2017 sanctions law punishing Russian interference in the 2016 elections, which threatens to sanction any third party that conducts a 'significant transaction' with the Russian defense industry." State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert cited "the delivery to China of Su-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018" as the transactions that led to the sanctions.
President Trump named retiring Rep. Darrell Issa "to head the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, setting up what could be a contentious confirmation battle in the Senate." As former House Oversight Committee chairman, Issa accused top IRS officials "of targeting conservative groups for political purposes, led the charge to hold former Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, and accused President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of trying to covering up the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attacks in 2012." If confirmed, Issa would lead the Trump Administration's multi-front effort to renegotiate more favorable trade deals.