Tlaib wants hearings on opportunity zones after news report on Dan Gilbert

    Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Oct. 27 in Detroit | Andrew Roth

    U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) sent a letter Wednesday to the chairs of key House panels asking them to hold investigative hearings into opportunity zones created under the 2017 GOP federal tax law.

    The zones were meant to encourage new investments in poor areas by providing tax breaks to investors, but a ProPublica investigation last month showed that Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert launched a lobbying effort and secured a designation in downtown Detroit for which he didn’t qualify. ProPublica also uncovered similar practices in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Oklahoma.

    Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert, April 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.| Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Tlaib specifically wants to know if “political campaign contributions influenced the designation of opportunity zones in her district and across the country.” She notes that Quicken Loans donated $750,000 to President Donald Trump’s inaugural fund.

    “This is yet another example of how corporate greed and the influence of billionaires have infected our government like a disease,” said Tlaib“Residents in my district have witnessed time and time again how the desires of wealthy individuals are put before their needs — enough is enough. This is not how our government, or our democracy should work. We must take action to uncover the truth.”

    The letter was sent to U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation Chair Al Green and Economic and Consumer Policy Committee Chair Raja Krishnamoorthi.

    “Public trust in our federal government is eroded when the rules are applied unevenly and seem to reward the wealthiest and best connected amongst us,” Tlaib wrote.”It appears that a tax program supposedly designed to benefit the poorest amongst us is now being used to reward political donors and wealthy investors.”

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.