Here’s a hypothetical for you. Say you were GOP leadership trying to pass the biggest tax cut for billionaires America has ever seen. However, you had John McCain in the hospital, Democrat Doug Jones headed to town, and Tennessee’s Bob Corker a “no.” You’d have zero votes to lose while getting donors the top item on their Christmas wish list.
Actually, it’s not hypothetical at all. With only two votes to spare and Maine’s Susan Collins on the fence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell feared losing another battle on Capitol Hill. So the compromise between the House and Senate had to guarantee Corker would vote “yes.” But how do you make someone concerned about America’s exploding deficit to change his mind?
It’s easy: Give him millions in real estate cash. According to a report in International Business Times (IBT), the “Corker Kickback” will do just that. Senator Corker, who stands to rake in millions from the last-minute change to the tax code, will have plenty of company among colleagues voting for the bill. Here are the 14 GOP senators who will cash in big from the kickback.
14. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota
- Real estate partnerships: $250,000
Compared to what some senators will make, John Hoeven got the short end of the stick. North Dakota’s senior senator, who is worth over $45 million, has most of his fortune tied up in banking and pharmaceuticals. Obviously, he’ll get a massive tax cut as a member of the top 1%, and his heirs won’t have to worry bout their takeaway since the estate tax will disappear, too. Strictly focusing on his real estate, Hoeven will pocket a several thousand extra.
Next: Of course, the senator who created the kickback gets a nice payday of his own.
13. Orin Hatch, R-Utah
- Real estate partnerships: $500,000
Orin Hatch, the senior senator from Utah, defended Corker as news broke of the provision in the tax bill. Hatch asserted that he wrote the section on pass-through business deductions, and Corker hadn’t asked for it. Well, Hatch gets a little payday of his own from the provision. First, he’ll pay several thousand less in taxes. Second, he’ll make his donors even happier. Hatch has received over $1.14 million in contributions from the real estate sector over the years.
Next: This senator won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling but voted on a $1.4 trillion deficit increase.
12. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky
- Real estate partnerships: $500,000
When asked about funding the government in an upcoming vote, the junior Republican senator from Kentucky took a stand. “I cannot in good conscience vote to add more to the already massive $20 trillion debt,” Rand Paul said. So why would he vote to add $1.4 trillion to the deficit with the tax bill? “Tax cuts are never the problem,” Paul tweeted. (Hey, we’re satisfied if you are.) Paul will also cash in on the real estate investments he’s been making in recent years.
Next: No one elected him, but he got to vote for a tax cut for himself anyway.
11. Luther Strange, R-Alabama
- Real estate partnerships: $115,000
Poor Luther Strange. After getting appointed as Jeff Sessions’s replacement in Alabama, Strange lost in the GOP senate primary to Roy Moore. Of course, Moore then lost to Doug Jones in a wild election, making Strange’s stay in the U.S. Senate a short one. However, he did get to vote on tax cut despite never winning an election. Strange, who IBT reported earned as much as $50,000 from pass-through corporations in 2016, would see a good chunk of that figure exempt from taxes.
Next: This senator keeps a low profile but has big real estate holdings.
10. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming
- Real estate partnerships: $500,000
You won’t hear GOP Senator John Barrasso’s name much in the news, but the junior member from Wyoming has a lot of wealth riding on the tax plan. Barrasso’s net worth of $7.95 million put him in line for a windfall once the GOP plan takes effect. As for the real estate partnerships he’s increased in recent years, Barrasso will also see more from them due to the Corker kickback. IBT’s top estimate would leave the Wyoming senator with thousands extra in tax-free income.
Next: This Georgia senator worth $25 million has more cash coming.
9. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia
- Real estate partnerships: $600,000
If you look at Johnny Isakson’s contributions, you’ll see why his donors will love the Corker provision. The real estate industry funneled nearly $750,000 to his campaigns since 2013. But the fun doesn’t end there. Isakson, whose net worth tops $25 million, had upwards of $600,000 worth of real estate partnerships about to get a tax break. It might sound like chump change for a multi-multimillionaire, but another tax-free $10,000 or so can’t hurt.
Next: This Louisiana senator’s real estate partnerships top $1 million.
8. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana
- Real estate partnerships: $1.35 million
We could not find a great deal of information on freshman Louisiana Senator John Kennedy’s net worth. However, IBT research did find Kennedy’s real estate partnerships valued at $1.35 million on the high end. Those holdings alone earned him as much as $80,000 in 2016. Now that the Corker provision is part of the tax law, Kennedy will see a major portion of that stay in his pocket.
Next: Does an Oklahoma senator worth over $8 million need another giveaway?
7. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma
- Real estate partnerships: $2.18 million
When you see Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s net worth of $8.25 million, you probably wonder why he needs a tax break. Like so many other members of Congress who voted for this bill, Inhofe will see a massive influx of cash in the coming years. However, his extra real estate income will be even sweeter after the Corker kickback. IBT discovered Inhofe made $100,000 in his pass-through businesses, and a major chunk of that will be tax-free.
Next: Will Idaho voters be relieved to learn their $55 million senator is getting a bigger tax cut?
6. James Risch, R-Idaho
- Real estate partnerships: $5.75 million
It’s hard to be richer than GOP Senator James Risch, whose net worth sits around $54.7 million. In a state where the median income is $48,275, Idaho’s junior senator invested $50 million in real estate in a single year (2015). So while you could be certain he’d vote to give himself millions more (and avoid the estate tax) with the GOP plan, he’s also getting a fat check from the Corker kickback.
Next: This Ohio senator will see tens of thousands extra on top of the millions in tax cuts he’ll already get.
5. Rob Portman, R-Ohio
- Real estate partnerships: $850,000
Ohio flipped to Trump in 2016, and many folks are wondering whether the populist rhetoric already wore thin for the state’s voters. After all, corporate tax cuts and repealing the estate tax hardly represent blue-collar policy. (For starters, there are no new jobs.) Either way, Ohio Senator Rob Portman ($16.87 million) will see a huge tax cut from this plan. On top of the millions set to line his pockets from “tax reform,” Corker’s kickback should get Portman another $50,000 in free money.
Next: Like Corker, this Wisconsin senator became a “yes” when he saw pass-through heaven.
4. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin
- Real estate partnerships: $30.25 million
Remember when Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson was a “no” vote on the tax plan? You see, Johnson was concerned the law would not repeal enough taxes on pass-through income. Not coincidentally, he owns over $30 million in partnerships that qualify. These real estate holdings make up the bulk of his $36.78 million fortune and likely brought him over $1 million in 2016. No do you see why he became a “yes” vote in later drafts?
Next: Tennessee’s senior senator will also receive a huge Christmas bonus from the Corker provision.
3. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee
- Real estate partnerships: $5.4 million
For a state with a $47,275 median income (42nd in America), Tennessee sure has two rich senators. Lamar Alexander (net worth: $22.5 million) will not benefit quite as much as colleague Bob Corker from the late addition to the tax bill, but he’ll come close. IBT estimates Alexander earned as much as $1.05 million in pass-through income in 2016 alone. Once the tax plan kicks into gear, that means Alexander will get an extra $200,000 or so in free money.
Next: He pushed for more breaks on pass-through income, but had to settle for close to a million bucks.
2. Steve Daines, R-Montana
- Real estate partnerships: $22.5 million
Republican Montana Senator Steve Daines, whose net worth hit $14.4 million in 2015, also joins the pass-through party. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Daines invested over $10.5 million in real estate in a single year. U.S. Senate records listed his partnership income between $485,000 and $4.2 million in 2016. As the IBT reported, Daines pushed for even more cuts on this tax but had to settle for an extra $900,000 or so in free money.
Next: You don’t get a Corker Kickback without the man himself.
1. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee
- Real estate partnerships: $35 million
It couldn’t be the “Corker Kickback” unless the junior senator from Tennessee made the most out of it. IBT reported Corker’s real estate partnerships were worth as much as $35 million in 2016. With another break on the $7 million (top estimate) he received in pass-through income, Corker would gain $1.4 million in free money. Let that be a lesson for anyone who needs a crucial vote in Congress. Senators are for sale, even ones with a net worth of $69 million.
Next: Obviously, any real estate giveaway would have to benefit Donald Trump
- Real estate partnerships: $704 million
You knew there’d be no tax plan without Trump getting a cut. During the campaign, he was constantly telling coal miners and other laborers how he’d represent them in The White House. However, since Trump got to D.C., it’s been a nonstop party for Goldman Sachs bankers and lobbyists. That bait-and-switch really will work for Trump, whose fortune is mostly in real estate.
Though we already knew he’d pocket an extra $1 billion if the tax plan passed, this Corker giveaway will make that total rise. According to IBT reporting, Trump earned as much as $68 million in pass-through income on real estate in 2016. Knock off 20% and you’re looking at an extra $13.6 million in free money. We knew Trump and Corker had some spats in the past year, but we imagine the president will miss Corker after this excellent parting gift.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!