OR-1: Rob Cornilles really, really wants you to think he's not a millionaire

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Two weeks ago, at the Jewish Federation Candidate Forum, OR-1 Republican candidate Rob Cornilles claimed that he's not a millionaire. His exact quote, directed at his fellow Republican, Jim Greenfield was:

By the way, [the] biggest laugh in the hall so far tonight was from my wife when you called me a millionaire.

Of course, Cornilles is full of it. He's trying to obfuscate and confuse the real truth.

You see, in his most recent financial disclosure, he disclosed assets of between $8.7 million and $39.0 million - and 2010 income of between $477,942 and $4.18 million.

Why the ranges? Because the congressional personal financial disclosure requires candidates to report a range for the value and income for each asset. The totals represent the combined minimum and maximum values reported. Here's his personal financial disclosure documents from 2010 and 2011 (pdfs).

Why does this matter? Well, in terms of policy, Cornilles has opposed a middle-class payroll tax cut - while insisting that the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest are critical.

On a radio show in September, Cornilles said of the payroll tax cut proposed by President Obama:

"[T]he problem with this is that just doing a temporary tax cut extension for another twelve months is just going to create a bigger problem at the end of 2012."

And last year, the Oregonian's Kimberly Melton reported that Cornilles opposed ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy:

Cornilles said not renewing the tax cuts would be "demonizing certain classes of our society" and discourage economic growth.

So yeah, Cornilles is part of the 1%. And working hard to make sure that federal policy protects the 1% - all the while pretending that he's not a millionaire himself.

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    Anyone who is not willing to ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share is simply wrong. But people who point out that the President's temporary cuts to the taxes that fund social security will create a bigger problem down the road are not wrong. Anyone under 50 should be asking the federal government to raise the $106,800 cap on payroll taxes that fund social security, and should hold politicians accountable for taking steps that have made the system less solvent.

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      Sal, I'm pretty sure we come out on different ends of the policy pinwheel (and Kari, there are Republican primary voters who sometimes read your blog, because I am one), but I have a few sincere questions for you. (That doesn't mean I'll agree with your answers, but I am curious what you think.) When you refer to "the wealthy", how do you define the term? When you assert that "the wealthy" don't pay their "fair share" of taxes, is there an objective definition of "fair share"? If so, what is it? If not, who gets to make the subjective determination of what is fair? Does it matter that there is a huge variation among "the wealthy" in effective federal income tax rate paid? (See the report Chuck Shekitoff cited a few weeks ago.) Would you favor making every "wealthy" person pay more taxes, even ones that already pay at a rate well above Mr. Buffett's secretary?

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        Bob, as someone whose family income is reasonably significant (as in spouse always hits the SS cap), we're more than happy to see the SS cap go. We're not the 1% but we're pretty dang comfortable, and we've got no problem with paying our fair share of taxes. We believe in our civic duty, we believe in providing services and safety nets, and we're paying our damn fair share while living within our means. Get rid of the damn Bush tax cuts on anyone whose income is above the SS tax cap and balance the budget already. It's ridiculous.

        So, quite frankly, I want those freeloaders who are worth more than me (upper middle class sort) to be paying their fair share as well. Otherwise they're just fat cat slackers and yes, I think every "wealthy" person should be paying more taxes.

        (rather entertaining to see your "wealthy" scare quotes)

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        Well, for starters, if you earn more than $106,800 you pay a much lower share of your income toward social security than does someone who earns less than $106,800. So, let's get rid of the income cap on social security and turn it into a flat tax.

        If we did even that much, I would not object to the rest of the current tax structure.

        Having said that, I believe that people who are doing the best in our society have a greater interest in maintaining stability and the status quo. If the moral argument is unpersuasive, what about basic self-interest?

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          As part of a broad, real deficit reduction package along the line of Simpson Bowles (not the usual BS our leaders come up with), for what it's worth, I would support an end to the cap and needs testing for social security and medicare for everyone born after some certain year. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't stop the Occupy protests or end the claim that the "wealthy" don't pay their "fair share".

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    The opposition to a payroll tax cut is a significant issue. As one may recall, it is a provision of President Obama's "Jobs Plan" that paroll tax reduction be extended. This is a position that is being cheerleaded by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (I had always wondered about the Wasserman test) Her point, at least publicly, is to challenge those who have taken the Norquist pledge against raising taxes. Set to expire this year the one year reduction in FICA would be extended. Now, if this seems confusing I welcome someone to explain it.

    For one thing at a time when the Republicans are focusing on debt reduction this has added 120 billion in borrowing to the defecit. Obama's advisors from Goldman-Sachs are drooling because this is a multi- billion dollar tax reduction to corporations.

    So, Obama is now advocating that the only way to boost consumer purchasing power is to loot Social Security. At the same time that he advocates for Bush's tax cuts and trade deals.

    Please tell me again why we want him to have a second term.

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    Actually Marvin, the president has been clear that the money's coming from the general revenues fund. Like Sal says, removing the contribution cap is the only measure required to restore Social Security to solvency for decades to come.

    It's pretty hard to ignore the fact that the Hill Republicans, taking their marching orders from Grover, have opposed any closing of tax subsides for agribusiness, extraction industries etcetera, or the repeal of the Bush "temporary tax cuts" as all being "tax increases, but extending the temporary payroll tax cut as coddling the parasites. Parasite being all those who bust their butts every week for a paycheck but are still falling behind.

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    I just love the stench of class warfare.

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      I suppose you prefer the Republican stench of greed, selfishness, and hypocrisy.

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      Believe me, Pat...I detest the same thing from the R side too. But the argument of "Well, they did it too!" wears thin. If you can believe that crap of this nature from either side actually lends itself to better public policy...well, best of luck.

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        What leads to better public policy is a principled debate about tax rates and tax fairness/unfairness of raising some rates. Throwing out the emotional charge of class warfare is entirely meant to stop that debate in its tracks.

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        What? Have the Republicans been calling for government and the banking industry to reform laws and practices that have favored a tiny group of dedicated practitioners of mercantilism/corporatism, at the expense of the rest of us?

        All I ever hear from them is that any addressing of the distortions of capitalism by a privileged few and their DC enablers must be "class warfare" and could not possibly be a valid concern about the long term health of our capitalist economy.

        Present company excepted of course.

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    You lend Mr. Cornilles credibility by featuring him on your site -- must be a slow blog day huh?

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    So.. my I ask the question? Is it illegal to be worth a Million Dollars or more?

    President Obama was worth near to Five Million before becoming President, and there are multiple members of congress both Republican and Democrat who are multi-millionaires..

    Mountain out of a molehill..

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      No. But it should be illegal to prop up such a stupid strawman like you just did.

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      No, it's not illegal to be worth a million dollars or more.

      However, if you're worth a million dollars or more, then you should be paying your fair share of taxes to maintain services and safety nets. You got that worth through the quality of society that those services and safety nets provided for all--guess what. It's your turn to pay for it!

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    I note from Rob Cornilles' Ad that he is trying to say he isn't really a Republican but an Independent. Obviously he is aware how the extremist positions of class warefare on the middle class by the GOP now have damaged the GOP brand, and the present GOP dominated Congress has a 9% approval rating. Truth is he is just another tea party hack who is trying to get rid of Medicare and Soc. Sec. and destroy what little environmental protection we have. It will be good to watch closely the GOP big guns and PACs with their Koch Industries and Karl Rove money.

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    Senator Bonamici is also part of the one percent.


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