Why the Panama Papers should be a US election issue

Trevor Timm

Whether US politicians are named or not, the kind of arrangements that allow the global super-rich to hide their wealth only exist with our leaders’ consent.

What makes this story particularly relevant is that it was partly predicted by Bernie Sanders when the Obama administration signed the Panama free trade agreement in 2011.
At the time, Sanders gave a prescient speech warning of the exact kind of scandal exposed by the Panama Papers. As Congress was debating the deal, Sanders said on the Senate floor: “Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade US taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens. And the Panama free trade agreement would make this bad situation much worse.” (The speech is now going viral on Facebook.)
The Panama free trade agreement, of course, ended up being implemented, in large part due to strong support by Barack Obama and then secretary of state Hillary Clinton. As David Sirota has reported, the emails of a Clinton aide show that the State Department knew of the concerns that Panama would become even more of a tax haven that it already was but continued to push for the deal anyway. </snip>