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The Edge-U2, Bono have NOT evaded taxes


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THE EDGE: U2, BONO HAVE NOT EVADED TAXES

Posted: July 12, 2011

By: Rashas

In a letter to the editor published in the Baltimore Sun, The Edge responds to allegations of tax evasion:

The recent letter to the editor entitled, "Senator Cardin's affection for Bono's foundation is indefensible," (July 7) by Simon Moroney contains so many inaccuracies that it is pointless to attempt to correct them all.

But the most serious inaccuracy is the totally false and possibly libelous accusation that U2 and Bono have, by moving a part of their business activities to Holland, been involved in tax evasion.

For the record U2 and the individual band members have a totally clean record with every jurisdiction to which they are required to pay tax and have never been and will never be involved in tax evasion. 

Contrary to what Mr. Moroney writes, Ireland is, thankfully, not bankrupt.

Had he bothered to contact the Irish Ministry of Finance, as did Spin magazine journalist Steve Kandrell for his March 25th 2009 feature on U2, he would have discovered that they have no problem with U2 basing some of their business activities in Holland.

"People complained at the time," says Owen Durgan of the Ministry of Finance. "But we have companies moving here from the rest of the EU, so it all evens out. We wouldn't make an issue of it."

Furthermore, since he is a federal worker, it might interest Mr. Moroney to know that U2 and its members have paid many, many millions of dollars in taxes to the United States Internal Revenue Service over the years.

I hope that his fears of an Obama tax increase affecting him personally turn out to be as unfounded as his statements about U2's tax affairs and Bono's ONE campaign.

- The Edge

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Yeah saw that.  Good for Edge setting the record straight for the numb skull who wrote the original opinion, which is here http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-cardin-bono-20110706,0,3092957.story

 

Senator Cardin's affection for Bono' foundation is indefensible

 

Sen. Benjamin Cardin's recent letter defending Bono and his ONE foundation puts him in direct opposition to President Obama's appeal for "corporate jet" owners to pay their fair share of tax ("Cardin: ONE Campaign works," June 27). U2 are major tax evaders. I am also perturbed by Senator Cardin's statement that Bono and the ONE campaign exercised significant influence on framing legislation in the financial services bill.

Paul Hewson, aka Bono, exemplifies the worst characteristics of Wall Street, both for excess and tax evasion. He is the major financier of Spiderman, the most expensive and lavish show ever staged on Broadway. His hotel in Ireland, the Clarence, is undergoing renovations to make it the most exclusive hotel in Dublin. He set up and has a large stake in Elevation, a private equity fund whose first act was to buy a controlling share of Forbes magazine, which celebrates wealth and over-consumption. U2 has a private jet, and Bono has a half share in a $15 million yacht, a mansion in Dublin, a house on the French Riviera and an A-list apartment inManhattan.

Ireland created a tax exemption in the early 1980's to help artists make a modest living in a small country. U2 used and abused this exemption to amass hundreds of millions of dollars, tax free. When the Irish government put a cap on the tax exemption on royalties in 2006, U2 promptly moved that portion of their business to a Dutch tax haven. So while Bono was getting access to many of the world leaders to pressure them to double their aid budget to 0.7 percent of GDP, he himself was not even paying basic taxes. He wants ordinary people like me to pay for the causes he berates world leaders for not embracing.

 

 

Ireland is now bankrupt, and there have been calls from some government ministers for Bono to pay his taxes so the country can keep hospitals and schools open. Those appeals have fallen on deaf ears, despite the fact that Bono and U2 have extensively traded on being Irish to engender fan loyalty.

 

 

While the myriad of causes Bono has taken up may seem contradictory, they are actually consistent. They all serve the purpose of either promoting U2 or giving Bono access to power at the nexus of celebrity and politics, usually both. The recent appointment of Michael Elliott as CEO of ONE demonstrates the point: He is not a poverty advocate, he has been a senior editor at Time magazine since 2001. Time named Bono its Man of the Year, gave the band tremendous coverage and even let Bono write editorial articles.

 

The ONE campaign is a lobbying group with no mandate or accountability, set up by a man who is not even a U.S. citizen. It has no relevant expertise on aid policy, let alone on the best interests of Maryland taxpayers.

As a federal worker awaiting the outcome of the debt ceiling talks to see where I will endure cuts and taxes, I am not amused by Senator Cardin's endorsement of Bono and ONE. As a registered Democrat and someone who voted for him, I expect him to condemn Bono's tax evasion and refuse to work with the ONE campaign any longer.

 

Simon Moroney, Baltimore

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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Article that started it all http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-u2-20110621,0,731086.story

 

By Matt Patterson

4:45 p.m. EDT, June 21, 2011

(Clarification: Although the ONE foundation's $15 million in funding in 2008 is listed in tax documents as “contributions,†the organization does not solicit funding from the general public but from foundations and board members, according to ONE’s website and a statement from a spokeswoman.)

Tonight, U2 bring their enormously successful 360 Tour to Baltimore, and if previous U2 shows are any guide (trust me, I've seen them 11 times), the show will feature not only the soaring anthems for which they are rightly known but also a healthy dose of promotion for the band's many charitable causes. But before concert-goers respond to Bono and Co.'s call, they should know of the somewhat checkered history of the band's activism.

 

Last year, Bono's nonprofit ONE foundation was at the center of semi-scandal when it was revealed that in 2008 the organization raised $14,993,873 in public donations — of which only $184,732 (or just over ONE percent) was distributed to charities. Where did the rest go? Well, more than $8 million went to salaries for executives and employees at ONE. In response to the fusillade of criticism following these revelations, ONE spokesman Oliver Buston explained, "We don't provide programs on the ground. We're an advocacy and campaigning organization."

 

Much of the "advocacy" is directed at governments; organizations like ONE aggressively lobby world leaders to contribute "aid" (read: tax dollars) to anti-poverty and environmental causes. Yet the U2 organization has gone out of its way to reduce its own tax burden — in 2006, the band moved part of its business operation from Ireland to take advantage of generous tax breaks offered to artists in the Netherlands.

 

The move infuriated many left-wing advocacy groups, some of whom have targeted the band's upcoming gig at England's Glastonbury Festival for protest. "Bono claims to care about the developing world, but U2 greedily indulges in the very kind of tax avoidance which is crippling the poor nations of this world," said a spokesman for Art Uncut.

 

Here in the U.S., guitarist The Edge has outraged environmentalists with his effort to build five mansions in Malibu, plans dashed by an 8-4 rejection by the California Coastal Commission over concerns the construction would adversely affect habitat and water quality. "In 38 years of this commission's existence, this is one of the three worst projects that I've seen in terms of environmental devastation. … You can't be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location," says commission executive director Peter Douglas.

 

A band that wears its (bleeding) heart so blatantly on its sleeve is fair game for these sorts of criticisms, of course. Having studied both liberal culture and nonprofits for a living, I am not at all surprised by the hypocrisy/inefficiency on display in the band's charitable pursuits. But as a lifelong U2 fan, I worry that the band is eroding its own musical legacy by repeatedly appropriating its songs into these various causes du jour.

 

Like a lot of fans, there has scarcely been a major event in my life for which a U2 album did not serve as soundtrack. As Bono once astutely observed, when people cheer U2 songs, they are really cheering their own lives. The songs become melded with intensely personal moments and emotions, an existential alchemy that only music can achieve. When music becomes appropriated to serve fashionable trends, however, it loses its power to move.

 

Take "One" for example, widely considered one of the best love songs ever written. Bono has hijacked this song's simple and evocative title to serve as moniker for his dubious and inefficient foundation, thereby emptying the music of the meaning and memories his fans have poured into it all these years.

 

That's a shame.

 

Matt Patterson, a Rockville resident, is senior editor at the Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C. and a contributor to "Proud to be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation" (HarperCollins, 2010). His email is mpattersononline.com.

 

 

 

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I could care less but it seems to me that One is actually a PAC (political action committee). I agree that U2 has the right to base their corporation anywhere they choose, sure it was bad blood there for awhile but I thought this was OLD news. That happened years ago. Going after ONE is fair game these days. I am not a member because I havent even been able to figure out what they do except lobby (which means they should technically be registered lobbyists in each state as well as the federal level. I have no clue, maybe they are, but it seems to be they are a bunch of lobbyists working with government officials as well as promoting candidates. Hence licensed lobbyists and PAC, but what the hell do I know...LOL. I think it was good that Edge defended himself and his associates, friends, etc. I like that. I just hope it does not open doors that they would rather have closed.

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I could care less but it seems to me that One is actually a PAC (political action committee). I agree that U2 has the right to base their corporation anywhere they choose, sure it was bad blood there for awhile but I thought this was OLD news. That happened years ago. Going after ONE is fair game these days. I am not a member because I havent even been able to figure out what they do except lobby (which means they should technically be registered lobbyists in each state as well as the federal level. I have no clue, maybe they are, but it seems to be they are a bunch of lobbyists working with government officials as well as promoting candidates. Hence licensed lobbyists and PAC, but what the hell do I know...LOL. I think it was good that Edge defended himself and his associates, friends, etc. I like that. I just hope it does not open doors that they would rather have closed.
Have a mango everyone and calm down....*wahine wonders if the taxes this coming year can be paid in Mangos?*roll.gif
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Well done Edge. As far as I'm concerned the people constantly whinging about U2's tax affairs are just resentful of the fact that they don't have the power to arrange their own. It's just the powerless rebelling against the people they want to be like.

 

Since when did taxation become the barometer for morality anyway???

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Well done Edge. As far as I'm concerned the people constantly whinging about U2's tax affairs are just resentful of the fact that they don't have the power to arrange their own. It's just the powerless rebelling against the people they want to be like.

 

Since when did taxation become the barometer for morality anyway???

AND since when did it becomes everyone's business WHAT the band does with their money and how much they pay in taxes?

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