Goldberg: Why is Peter Thiel, a GOP megadonor, buying a Maltese passport?
The Maltese passport is actually not an uncommon purchase for American tycoons who are seeking to move their wealth to the United States. There are many reasons why the passport is sought. There’s the obvious fact that they seek to avoid having to comply with U.S. tax laws, where they are required to pay taxes on the income they get from the United States. They also want to avoid having to register as foreign agents when they come back to the United States. Finally, they may be looking to transfer the wealth to a U.S. citizen so as to avoid repatriating their financial assets back to the United States.
The real question, then, is why the Maltese passport is being purchased by the Peter Thiel Foundation—the nonprofit organization founded by PayPal founder Peter Thiel. The story that has been reported here and there is that it was part of a failed attempt to get Thiel to leave the United States. The story is clearly false. There is almost no reason to believe that this was part of a ploy to get Thiel to leave the United States. It was, however, part of a larger strategy to raise a large amount of money from Maltese citizens to promote Thiel’s libertarian perspectives on government.
But there is another, even more interesting story that may explain why Thiel purchased the passport. It is the story of an incident in which he once made a comment that a friend of mine found to be very revealing. This incident was, of course, first reported by the Daily Beast here.
At one time Thiel was very sympathetic to an issue that was dear to my heart: marijuana legalization. I was a supporter of the movement, not just for personal reasons, but because I saw a way to improve the lives of America’s poor… For example, let’s say you are a man who runs a small business in Colorado. What if pot were legal, but you couldn’t get a