Sen. Rand Paul Apologizes to Apple Ahead of Silicon Valley Fundraising Tour

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Apple has avoided paying at least $74 billion in taxes through a complex tax avoidance scheme involving "a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and went beyond anything most experts had ever seen," the New York Times reported on Monday.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) apologized to the company at a Tuesday Senate subcommittee hearing about this tax avoidance, which featured Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple ... I would say what we really need to do is to apologize to Apple, compliment them for the job creation they are doing, and get about doing our job," he said.

While this opposition to government oversight of corporate practices may fit into Sen. Paul's anti-government philosophy, there may be another reason he's defending the tech industry: campaign cash.

Politico reported on May 10th that Paul will "court Silicon Valley moguls at multiple meet-and-greet events later this month in California." NBC News's Kasie Hunt reiterated this on Twitter today, noting, "Rand Paul, who's spent [today's] hearing standing up for Apple Inc., heads soon to Silicon Valley to meet with execs. Goal: raise $$$$."

Sen. Paul is also scheduled to attend a fundraiser Tuesday night hosted by Google's political action committee (PAC) at Google's public policy offices in DC.

This isn't the first time a member of Congress has apologized to a witness at a hearing. At a hearing on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) apologized to BP for the deal the company worked out with the White House to pay for damages caused by its massive oil spill.