For Immediate Release
Thirty Companies Contribute $41 Million to 524 Members of Congress, Receive $10.6 Billion in Tax Rebates
Loopholes for Sale: Campaign Contributions by Corporate Tax Dodgers, New Study from U.S. PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice
WASHINGTON - A new report to be released Wednesday, March 21 by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that thirty unusually aggressive tax dodging corporations have made campaign contributions to 524 (98 percent) sitting members of Congress, and disproportionately to the leadership of both parties and to key committee members. The report, "Loopholes for Sale: Campaign Contributions by Corporate Tax Dodgers," examines campaign contributions made by a total of 280 profitable Fortune 500 companies in 2006, 2008, 2010 and to date in 2012, and is available at http://www.uspirg.org/reports/
Loopholes for Sale focuses on campaign contributions by 30 companies – dubbed the “Dirty Thirty” – that a previous U.S. PIRG/CTJ study found collectively paid no federal corporate income taxes between 2008 and 2010 while receiving $10.6 billion in tax rebates and spending millions to lobby Congress. Altogether, these companies spent $41 million on campaign contributions during the four most recent election cycles, with each member of Congress receiving $58,000 on average (top recipients and donors listed below).
“These aggressive tax dodgers left nothing to chance by making campaign contributions to all but ten current members of Congress,” said U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget Associate Dan Smith. “The pervasiveness of that money across party lines speaks volumes about why major proposals to close corporate tax loopholes have not even come up for a vote.”
PAC contributions from these thirty corporations were most concentrated among leadership in both parties and the committees that control tax policy in both chambers of Congress. An average of $84,859 went to current members of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is 66 percent more than the average House member not on that committee. All but one Senate Finance Committee member, Maria Cantwell of Washington State, received an average of $83,209, which is 28 percent more than the average Senator not on that committee.
“It seems the only thing the two parties can agree on is that we shouldn’t even try to get more tax revenue from profitable corporations,” said Steve Wamhoff, Legislative Director at Citizens for Tax Justice. “Corporations’ public filings with the SEC show that even big, profitable corporations pay nowhere near the 35 percent statutory tax rate and some pay nothing at all, thanks to the loopholes in the tax code. It’s outrageous that lawmakers seek to reduce budget deficits by cutting health care, education and other public investments all Americans depend on while doing nothing to end this corporate tax avoidance.”
The top five Congressional recipients of contributions since 2005 from the 30 no-tax companies were:
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) - $379,850.00
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) - $336,5000.00
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) – $320,900.00
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO and former House Minority Whip 2003-08) – $220,500.00
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - $177,001.00
The top five corporate contributors since 2005 are:
Honeywell - $6,469,277
Boeing - $4,049,250
General Electric - $3,390,850
Verizon - $3,201,550
FedEx - $2,595,900
“We need to achieve equality in our campaign finance system. Only then can we end the special privilege our government grants to special interests, which is on full display in our tax code, and instead amplify the voices of ordinary citizens in the halls of Congress,” concluded Blair Bowie, Democracy Advocate for U.S. PIRG.
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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.