Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

New Public Citizen Report: Corporations That Paid Nothing in Taxes Spent $450 Million to Influence Public Policy


The 55 large corporations that paid $0 in federal corporate income taxes in 2020 spent $450 million lobbying and political contributions in recent years, according to a new Public Citizen report, The Price of Zero.

For most of the companies, paying nothing was not enough. The companies paying zero also received $3.5 billion in tax rebates, money they can turn around and spend to influence tax policy.

“Duke Energy could use the $280 million rebate from the federal government to fund its lobbying spending for the next half-century,” said Mike Tanglis, a Public Citizen research director and author of the report. “Using Uncle Sam’s money to lobby against paying taxes is the perfect embodiment of how Washington works.”

Among the findings of the report:

“As Congress looks to pair incredibly important investments in jobs and families with tax changes to raise revenues, it is essential that, as part of that work, it addresses the loopholes that have allowed companies to pay nothing in federal corporate tax,” said Susan Harley, managing director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “In the meantime, it’s critical that the public understand that while paying nothing to support the upkeep of our government, these companies have been spending huge amounts of money to try to keep the game rigged in their favor.”


Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo