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.
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.”