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.