Billionaire Leon Cooperman rejected Senator Elizabeth Warren’s invitation to testify on her proposed wealth tax, saying he has no interest in appearing “at her show trial.”
Warren invited Cooperman, with whom she has repeatedly clashed, to appear at an April 27 hearing on creating a fairer tax system.
In a statement to CNN Business Tuesday evening, Cooperman accused Warren of trying to “grandstand at my expense” and attempting to hold a hearing in a “showboating atmosphere not conducive to serious debate.” The billionaire hedge fund executive added that his distaste for Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax is well known and called the invitation “self-serving and disingenuous.”
“I am not interested in being pilloried by her while she uses me as a foil to promote her far-left manifesto,” Cooperman said, adding that he is “respectfully declining” the invitation.
The Ultra-Millionaire Tax, which Warren reintroduced last month, would seek to raise at least $3 trillion over 10 years by imposing a 2% annual levy on the net worth of households above $50 million. Billionaires would face a 3% tax.
The Massachusetts Democrat argues the wealth tax would help rebuild the economy and fight inequality. The tax is not part of the Biden administration’s efforts to raise revenue to pay for infrastructure.
Warren wrote a letter to Cooperman, first reported by CNBC, Monday saying he should be afforded the opportunity to present his case directly to Congress.
“The opportunity will allow you to fully air your views, not merely in front of the financial news audience where you often express them, but before the entirety of the American people, Warren wrote.
Cooperman reiterated his opposition to the wealth tax, saying that while he believes in a progressive income tax there are more constructive approaches than Warren’s. He urged Congress to start by eliminating various loopholes in the tax code, including the carried-interest exemption for private equity and hedge funds.
The back-and-forth comes after Warren and Cooperman have repeatedly butted heads over her wealth tax.
In 2019, Cooperman accused Warren of “s—ing on” the “f—ing American dream” and got choked up during a TV interview discussing the wealth tax. After a clip of that interview went viral, Warren’s campaign sold a mug reading “BILLIONAIRE TEARS.”
During an interview with CNN Business, Cooperman called Warren, then a Democratic presidential candidate, a “superficial, nasty hater” and urged the public not to fall for “this political charlatan.”