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March 16, 2006

Crapo donations questioned

Associated Press
March 15, 2006

BOISE – U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, received more than twice as much money in donations from people in the U.S. Virgin Islands than from his home state last year, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

That prompted the Senate Majority Project, a Democratic interest group, to question Crapo's involvement in the islands, which have a population of 110,000 people.

Crapo had received $39,000 from Virgin Islands residents by the end of the 2005-06 election cycle, compared with just under $20,000 from Idaho residents.

Lobbyists for the islands are trying to reduce the number of days a person must remain on the islands to be considered a resident, an issue that could have tax benefits.

Currently, under a 2004 act of Congress, individuals must spend at least half the year in the Virgin Islands to be considered a resident for tax purposes. Lobbyists would like to see that reduced to an average of 122 days per year over a three-year period.

Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, is looking into the issue.

"He's very much involved in the philosophy states should be able to determine states' business," Crapo spokeswoman Susan Wheeler told the Idaho State Journal. "And in the same vein, territories should be able to determine the tax benefits that bolster business and the economy."

Wheeler said that encouraging economic development in the islands would help reduce an illegal drug and slave trade.

"It's in the United States' best interest to have the Virgin Islands prosper," she said.

Posted by afinta at March 16, 2006 06:36 PM

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