A U.S. citizen since 1985, Rupert Murdoch avoids the tax hassles of his fellow Americans by basing his News Corporation conglomerate in Australia and spreading his 789 business units among 52 countries, including sunny tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. While News Corp.’s annual report says the majority of its income comes from U.S. operations, the company reportedly uses a combination of international tax law and fancy paperwork to show losses on its U.S. ventures and profits in its low-tax locations. As a result, according to the Washington Post, News Corp. paid $103 million in taxes worldwide last year on a $1.32 billion operating income—a paltry 7.8 percent effective tax rate. That’s about a third of what the biggest U.S. media groups paid. So far, Murdoch’s bookkeepers have kept him legally afloat. According to Business Week, the latest close call—Israel’s largest tax investigation ever—ended with a mere $4 million fine.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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