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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Daily Report: Apple\'s Chief Charms Capitol Hill

Timothy D. Cook came to the lion's den on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, prepared to face down lawmakers furious over evidence that Apple, the company he runs, had avoided paying billions in taxes. By the time he walked out, the big cats on a Senate committee were practically eating out of his hand, Nelson D. Schwartz and Brian X. Chen report in The New York Times.

Even the panel's fiery chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who had blasted Apple for creating “ghost companies” that diverted billions of tax dollars from American coffers and caused needy seniors to go without meals, had some kind words for Mr. Cook and his company.

“We love the iPhone and the iPad,” Mr. Levin said, going on to commend Mr. Cook and two other executives for voluntarily appearing before the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations. “I know it's not easy to come in front of a spotlight, but it's important for us.”

Senator John McCain, the senior Republican on the panel, who had earlier criticized Apple “as among America's largest tax avoiders,” took pains to modulate his message. “You managed to change the world, which is an incredible legacy for Apple,” he told Mr. Cook. “You have to be a pretty smart guy and a pretty tough guy, too, and I say that in a complimentary way,” he added.

“It's important to tell our story, and I'd like people to hear directly from me,” Mr. Cook told Mr. McCain and the other senators. Apple, he testified, pays “all the taxes we owe - every single dollar.”