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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Senate to Investigate Whether Transocean 'Exploited' U.S. Tax Law

Transocean Logo Following up on my prior post, Transocean: Better at Tax Planning Than Oil Drilling:  Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus announced today that he has launched an investigation into the tax practices of Transocean Ltd., the owner of the offshore drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and caused the disastrous oil spill.  Sen. Baucus is questioning whether Transocean "exploited" U.S. tax law by moving its headquarters overseas, first to the Cayman Islands and later to Switzerland.

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If there's anything more important than stopping the oil spewing into the Gulf, which is destroying the livelihoods of millions of people, ruining the environment, and likely to drive gas prices to $4, it's to destract the public away from pointing fingers at the White House for its failures on the matter and to demonize the oil companies and related entities. Good thinking, Max!

Yes sir, let's investigate and make criminal charges before people get more angry with Obama's failure to even start dealing with the crisis, which mirrors Jimmy Carter's indecisiveness and weaknesses in the dragged-out Iranian hostage crisis. Here we go again.

Posted by: Woody | Jun 30, 2010 7:20:33 PM

Way to go, Max, babyy!

Mr. Baucus, Prince of Finance, commands and ordains that the Transocean horse which successfully fled the US corporate tax barn lo these many years ago (when it was perfectly legal to do so), now present itself to his Committee and explain its motives for doing so.

This small-bore grandstanding and petty harrassment is apparently Mr. Baucus' idea of a contribution to solving the Gulf Oil disaster in the same way that his equally lamebrained JOBS Act in 2004 purportedly was a response to 9/11.

The only item of any real interest in Mr. Baucus' letter to Transocean was Mr. Baucus' implicit admission of culpable neglect, failure and incompetence in the first sentence:

"As the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, I have a constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Internal Revenue Code."

So how's that working out?

If Mr. Baucus and his committee are lucky Transocean will tell them to take their request and shove it. If they are unlucky, Transocean will seize the chance to present in a public forum and in crushing and humiliating detail the manifold failures of Mr. Baucus, his committee and their predecessors that resulted in an international tax policy that is so out of whack with the rest of the world that it would have been irresponsible of Transocean not to have "inverted" and thereby seek to escape it.

Meanwhile, Mr. Baucus' committee is accomplishing exactly nothing with respect to truly pressing problems with the IRC, e.g. the estate tax or the lack thereof.

Time to send Mr. Baucus back to his ranch where, like a horse's ass, he should fit right in.

Posted by: John | Jul 1, 2010 8:04:08 AM