Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

Panama Papers: Leak could hand Bernie Sanders the keys to the White House

For some Americans, Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of a global elite which benefits from tax avoidance schemes. Bernie Sanders, her opponent, is its antithesis

Published 05/04/2016

Democratic presidential candidate US Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to supporters at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on March 31, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sanders and opponent Hillary Clinton are campaigning ahead of the April 26 primary in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate US Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to supporters at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on March 31, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sanders and opponent Hillary Clinton are campaigning ahead of the April 26 primary in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at an overflow of a rally at St. Mary's Park in the Bronx borough of New York City on March 3, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
Supporters of US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrive to attend a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in the Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
A supporter of US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives to attend a rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31: Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally at St. Mary's Park in the Bronx borough March 31, 2016 in New York City. Sanders and opponent Hillary Clinton are campaigning ahead of the April 5 primary in New York. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
A supporter of US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders displays a placard during a rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Attendees wait in line prior to a rally for Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders at St. Mary's Park on March 31, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York, on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York, on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York, on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at St. Mary's Park, Thursday, March 31, 2016, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at St. Mary's Park, Thursday, March 31, 2016, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
TOPSHOT - US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31: Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at an overflow of a rally at St. Mary's Park in the Bronx borough of New York City on March 3, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
Supporters of US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrive to attend a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in the Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
A supporter of US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives to attend a rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31: Attendees wait in line prior to a rally for Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders at St. Mary's Park on March 31, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City . Sanders and opponent Hillary Clinton are campaigning ahead of the April 5 primary in New York. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
A supporter of US democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders displays a placard during a rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally at St. Mary's Park in the Bronx borough March 31, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York, on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York, on March 31, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at St. Mary's Park, Thursday, March 31, 2016, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
US actress Rosario Dawson greets Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's supporters during a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York, on March 31, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses a campaign rally at the Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York,on March 31, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Bernie Sanders scored caucus wins in Alaska and Washington state (AP)
Bernie Sanders salutes Democrat supporters at a rally in Seattle (AP)
Supporters wave signs as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at West High School on March 21, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Republican and Democratic caucus will be held in Utah on Tuesday, March 22. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shakes hands after a speech at West High School at a campaign rally on March 21, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Republican and Democratic caucuses are March 22. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Supporters of Democratic presidental candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders gather before his rally at The Wiltern Theatre on March 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the "Free The Nipple" movement walk past people waiting in line to attend a campaign rally, March 23, 2016 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I- Vt., speaks at a rally Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
Actress Rosario Dawson speaks at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, March 23, 2016 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to his supporters after speaking at a campaign rally, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
DETROIT, MI - MARCH 7: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participates in a Fox News Democratic Town Hall with host Brett Baer March 7, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Michigan primary is March 8. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks at the FOX News town hall at the Gem Theatre, Monday, March 7, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in Dearborn, Michigan, March 7, 2016. / AFP / Geoff RobinsGEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at Safeco Field in Seattle on March 25, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at St. Mary's Park, Thursday, March 31, 2016, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The revelation that the rich and wealthy are shovelling money in overseas tax havens is not a particularly surprising one.

Nevertheless, the sheer scale of the 11.5 million document leak from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonesca has whipped up an overdue storm and forced the issue of tax justice back on the agenda. It is likely that the Panama papers is just the tip of the iceberg, and if even more is revealed about the financial affairs of world leaders, the implication for global politics will be huge.

The Democratic presidential primaries in the US have been characterised by surging anger at the global elite. The Panama papers scandal will only fuel popular indignation at the actions of perceived establishment figures – those who have stood idly by and allowed this huge miscarriage of justice to take place.

Although there have been no major American casualties over the leak at this stage, all of the presidential candidates will be questioned about the scandal. And nobody is going to be under more pressure than Hillary Clinton. For some Americans, she is the embodiment of a “global elite”, while Bernie Sanders is its antithesis.

The huge leak exposes governments across the globe wilfully ignoring tax avoidance by the rich. Although Clinton has not been linked to any malfeasance in the leak, there is a sense that she is among the elite rich, some of whose members have benefited from such schemes.

Read more

From 2004: Could Barack Obama become the first black US president?  

Wisconsin primaries crucial for Cruz and Sanders

Bernie Sanders holds first New York rally: Rosario Dawson and Spike Lee lend support  

It has been revealed Clinton pushed through the Panama Free Trade Deal at the same time that Sanders vocally opposed it, citing research warning that it would strictly limit the government’s ability to clamp down on questionable or even illegal activity.

Even if the Clintons remain unmentioned in future tax bombshells, Sanders can continue to exploit the narrative that Clinton is part of the demographic responsible, and has assisted in flagrant abuses of the system through trade deals.

As this scandal looks intent on dragging on, it is now increasingly likely that undecided voters will swing towards the Sanders camp in the vital primaries coming up, including New York. In a general election, Republican favourite Donald Trump’s alleged historic tax dodging will leave him in hot water in comparison to Sanders' squeaky clean record.

He is the only candidate who even speaks in terms of the 1 per cent vs the 99 per cent. Should he secure the Democratic nomination, early general election polls suggest Sanders would knock Trump out of the park.

Read more

Panama Papers leak: Jeremy Corbyn calls for investigation into Cameron family tax affairs  

But this more than a battle of candidates, it is a battle of ideas. Globalisation, heralded by the likes of Hillary Clinton, has enabled the richest in society to exploit the system while ordinary working people pick up the tab. This has been going on for decades; as a political family, the Clintons have done nothing about it.

Hillary continues to describe her opponent’s policy platform as ‘pie in the sky’, yet corporations paying their fair share of taxes could easily fund many of Sanders’ proposals.

The longer this scandal this kept alive the more beneficial will be for Sanders. And if any more skeletons in the Clinton closet see the light, it will parachute Bernie Sanders into the White House.

Independent

Independent News Service

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph