Large majorities of Americans, including small business owners, want profitable corporations to pay their fair share in taxes, but none of the major proposals in Washington would make that happen. They will close some loopholes while creating others and, meantime, leave the amount of revenues U.S. companies contribute just about where it is now – at an historic low.
Why the disconnect between public opinion and political action? Could it be because 98 percent of the sitting members of Congress have accepted campaign donations from the country’s most aggressive, successful tax avoiding corporations?
Citizens for Tax Justice and U.S. PIRG’s new report Loopholes for Sale pursues the intersection of corporate campaign contributions to members of Congress and the absence of Congressional action to close corporate tax loopholes and raise additional revenue from corporate taxes.
Loopholes for Sale details how thirty major, profitable corporations (a.k.a. the Dirty Thirty) with a collective federal income tax bill of negative $10.6 billion have made Congressional campaign contributions totaling $41 million over four election cycles. This includes PAC contributions to 524 current members of Congress.
These 30 tax dodging companies specifically targeted the leadership of both political parties, and members of the tax writing committees in the House and Senate. Top recipients of their largesse since the 2006 campaign have been:
1- House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) - $379,850.00
2- Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) - $336,5000.00
3- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) – $320,900.00
4- Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)Former House Minority Whip 2003-08) – $220,500.00
5- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - $177,001.00
These companies – including GE, Boeing, Honeywell and FedEx—also gave disproportionately to members of the tax writing committees, including $3.1 million to current members of the House Ways and Means Committee and $1.9 million to members of the Senate Finance Committee.
The “pervasiveness of that money across party lines speaks volumes about why major proposals to close corporate loopholes have not even come up for a vote,” says US PIRG’s Dan Smith.
So if the public is so clearly supportive of closing corporate tax loopholes and making corporations pay more than they currently are, why aren’t our elected officials moving forward on corporate tax reform? This report, along with our earlier Representation with Taxation on corporate lobbying expenditures, exposes how part of the answer may be found by taking a hard look at the way some of America’s largest companies translate wealth into influence.