Caterpillar Applied Political Pressure in Tax Case: NYT

March 12, 2024
Investigation calls into question timeline of settlement.

Caterpillar employed two politically connected attorneys to argue its case in a tax-evasion investigation that was later dropped, according to an investigative report in The New York Times (link may require registration).

William Barr, who at the time was former attorney general during the George H.W. Bush administration, and James Cole, a former Justice Department official during the Obama administration were hired weeks after a raid on Caterpillar’s headquarters in 2017 by federal agents, including the Internal Revenue Service.

A whistle blower had accused Caterpillar of shifting profits overseas and to other entities in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The IRS and Caterpillar settled the case without any penalties to Caterpillar. The manufacturer was required to pay about $400,000 in back taxes, less than a quarter of what the government claimed it owed when it opened the investigation, according to the report.

Read also: Caterpillar Settles with IRS

The report says Caterpillar’s team of attorneys met several times with Justice Department officials, including Richard Zuckerman, who it described as the Department’s “top tax official.” It said shortly after President Donald Trump nominated Barr to be attorney general, Zuckerman called off the investigation.

About the Author

Rod Sutton

I have served as the editorial lead of Construction Equipment magazine and since 2001. 

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