The political angle on this story is going to get very very interesting. The USVI scheme is one of the tax shelter programs I got shut down in 2004.
Excerpt from today's WSJ:
For the past few years, Mr. Stanford, who moved to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been lobbying to preserve and expand tax rules that enable him to pay minimal federal income taxes as a resident there, according to lobbyists. While allies of Mr. Stanford in Congress have managed to fend off attacks on rules, his efforts to expand them further have thus far been unsuccessful, lobbyists said.
Among the recipients of Mr. Stanford's largesse is House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.), who has long advocated lenient tax policies toward Virgin Islands residents and in 2007 introduced a bill to enforce a statute of limitations on IRS scrutiny of islanders' old tax returns. That year, Mr. Rangel traveled to Antigua for a development conference partly sponsored by Mr. Stanford, who also donated $28,300 to Mr. Rangel in 2008.
"I met Stanford a couple of times," Mr. Rangel said. "He has never discussed any legislative issue with me nor has anyone to my knowledge representing him ever discussed any legislation."
From Talking Points Memo:
Last May, buried in a long Bloomberg report about Stanford's tussles with Stanford University over his claim to be descended from the school's founder, was this nugget:
Members of the House Caribbean Caucus take annual trips to the region on Stanford's jets. Lawmakers are required to reimburse companies at a first-class commercial rate, which is often a fraction of the actual cost.
The House Caribbean Caucus? We don't mind telling you, we weren't even aware of its existence.
But according to this announcement from the Inter-American Economic Council, which appears to be from circa 2005, it has some pretty interesting co-chairs:
Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ), Congressman Robert Ney (R-OH), Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL), Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY), Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC), Congressman Phil English (R-PA), Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) Congresswomen Donna Christensen (D-VI), and Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA).