WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A top U.S. administration economic official is being investigated for allegedly snooping into a private company run by politically conservative billionaires.
Politico reported that Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee is the subject of a U.S. Treasury Department investigation because of the allegation.
The report said several Republican senators are pressing the department's inspector general to investigate why Goolsbee claimed Koch Industries allegedly hasn't paid corporate taxes. The inspector general announced the investigation Wednesday.
Goolsbee made the remarks in a late-August background conference call with reporters, just before his appointment to council chairman. But the White House says Goolsbee simply misspoke, Politico said.
The White House said Goolsbee was just repeating an unsubstantiated claim he heard while serving on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
"A senior administration official used Koch Industries as an example when discussing an issue noted in the PERAB report that half of business income goes to companies that do not pay corporate income tax because they are pass-through entities," an administration official told the newspaper. "The official's statement was not based on any review of tax filings, and we will not use this example in the future."
Talking about the need to close tax loopholes, Goolsbee said, "We have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms. You know, Koch Industries, I think, is one, is a multibillion-dollar business ... we got literally something like 50 percent of the business income in the U.S. is going to businesses that don't pay any corporate income tax," Politico reported.
The company is run by billionaires David and Charles Koch.