WASHINGTON: A famed Indian-American prosecutor could play a crucial role in the US Presidential election.
Preet Bharara, the much-feared US attorney for Southern New York, is reported to have launched an investigation into the Clinton Foundation amid allegations from Republican candidate Donald Trump that Hillary Clinton’s used her position as secretary of state to help the family charity.
The Clinton campaign has rubbished the charges, and in a move that has put Trump on the defensive, it has released tax returns showing the Clintons paying the highest tax rate (about 35%).
Trump is refusing to disclose his tax returns, claiming it is improper to do so while he is under audit, amid scuttlebutt in liberal circles that he pays very little tax using various loopholes.
Bharara’s office has declined to comment on reports – which first surfaced in the right-wing media – about the probe into Clinton charity, which is based in his prosecutorial domain in Manhattan.
Trump, too, is an NYC resident. Both candidates are fighting the broad public perception on trust issues, including the dodgy financial dealings.
Although Bharara is a Democrat who owes his rise to New York senator and Clinton comrade Charles Schumer (who persuaded President Obama to give him the US attorney’s job), he has not hesitated to act against Democrats.
He most recently brought down Sheldon Silver, a powerful New York Democrat and Speaker of the State Assembly, showing just why he made Time cover as one of the most powerful officials in America.
While Trump has previously claimed he is legitimately using loopholes available to him to minimise taxes and typically gets the benefit of doubt as a businessman, the Clintons have had a hard time shaking off the impression that their political influence and profile has enabled them to get rich.
Even the broadly pro-Clinton liberal media has begun digging into the Clinton fortune in recent months, including their progression from modest digs early in their political career to multi-million dollar mansions they have bought following the Clinton presidency.
Both husband and wife snagged book contracts each worth more than $10 million for their memoirs, and both have raked in millions more in speaking fees, often addressing corporate fat cats, while expressing concern for the poor across the world. Trump, in contrast, makes no bones about his fondness of wealth, and is in fact, accused of exaggerating his riches.
The Clintons’ 2015 tax returns show that they had an adjusted gross income of $10.6 million for the year, which would put them in the top 0.1% of American households.
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More than half their income came from speeches, and Hillary Clinton earned $3
million from ‘Hard Choices’, her memoir of her years as secretary of state.
They paid about $3.6 million in federal taxes for an effective tax rate of about 35%.