by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The address “1209 North Orange Street” in Wilmington, Del., has become known in recent years as the epicenter of U.S. corporate secrecy. The squat, split-level building is the official address of over 285,000 companies, many of which are looking to take advantage of Delaware’s Panama-like secrecy rules, tax incentives, and business-friendly case law.
In the wake of the recent “Panama Papers” scandal, this unassuming brick office has received renewed scrutiny from the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Telegraph, and advocates for corporate tax reform.
But one of its tenants may come as a surprise—a company owned by Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Hillary and Bill Clinton quietly set up two shell companies listed at “1209 North Orange Street” in 2008 and 2013, the Washington Free Beacon has found. The names of the companies, but not their location, were first made public in tax filings released by Hillary Clinton last year.
According to records, one of the Clintons’ “1209 North Orange Street” companies is WJC, LLC, which was set up by Bill Clinton in 2008 as a pass-through for his consulting fees.
Another company at the same location, ZFS Holdings, LLC, was set up in February 2013, one week after Hillary Clinton left the State Department. Hillary Clinton received $5.5 million from her book publisher, Simon & Schuster, through the company.
The “1209 North Orange Street” building is the headquarters for the Corporation Trust Company. The firm acts as a registered agent for thousands of corporations that are not actually located in Delaware, including the Clintons’ companies.
Anti-secrecy advocates say the building is prime evidence that Delaware has become a corporate haven that’s comparable to more well-known, offshore locales.