Bernie Sanders is leveraging the increasing attention his campaign is getting to call out major corporations for shirking their tax responsibilities. In a press release issued Friday, Sanders “pledged to close tax loopholes like a law that lets profitable corporations exploit offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. income taxes.”
Some Paid Zero Federal Taxes Despite Huge Profits
Sanders published a list of the top ten “corporate tax dodgers,” among which are some, like General Electric, Boeing and Verizon, that paid no federal income taxes at all between 2008 and 2013, despite racking up huge corporate profits.
Sanders enumerates a tough five point platform to make corporations pay their fair share in federal taxes. These include shutting down corporate inversions, ending tax deferrals on profits of offshore subsidiaries, and making sure companies can’t just claim to be foreign by establishing a P.O. box in the Cayman Islands or other tax haven. (He also wants to end tax subsidies for fossil fuel companies.)
So that’s what a President Sanders would do, if given the chance. How about a President Hillary Clinton?
Well, not so much. It turns out that all top ten corporations on Sanders’ list also have strong ties to Hillary Clinton, often benefitting from her official positions while donating to her campaign or the Clinton Foundation or giving her huge speaking fees. Here’s the Sanders list of tax-dodging companies — and their connections to Hillary Clinton.
Top Ten List Links to Hillary
1. General Electric. While Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton lobbied the Algerian government to hire GE to build several power plants. Right after being awarded the contract, G.E. CEO Jeffrey Immelt made a large donation to the Clinton Foundation.
2. Boeing also gave generously ($5,000,000) to the Clinton Foundation after Secretary of State Clinton lobbied the Russian government to give Boeing billions for new aircraft.
Verizon executives and lobbyists have given generously to Hillary’s campaign. According to one report, “Verizon vice-presidents Lydia Pulley, Kathleen Grillo, and Donna Epps each gave $2,700 to Hillary for America. Verizon senior vice-president Thomas Edwards and vice-president Chris Debosier pitched in $1,000. Leecia Eve, a former Hillary staffer who today is a lobbyist for Verizon gave $2,700. Another Verizon lobbyist, David Lamendola, gave Hillary $1,000.”
Another report lists contributions from Verizon to the Clinton Foundation totaling between $118,000 and $300,000.
4. Bank of America gave Hillary Clinton $225,000 in speaking fees, according to The Intercept.
5. Donors affiliated with Citigroup gave the Clinton campaign $824,402, according to the website open secrets.org.
6. Pfizer. While Hillary Clinton publicly opposed Pfizer’s tax inversion plan and merger with Allergen in October 2015, the Clinton Foundation has also been the recipient of hefty donations from the company, totaling between $1 million and $5 million. Company executives have also given directly to Hillary’s presidential campaign to the tune of $39,375.
Hillary is planning a U.S. Diplomacy Center bearing her name. She and her aides raised funds from corporations and foreign governments to build the center; the largest gifts of which came from four corporations ($2.5 million), including FedEx and Boeing. FedEx has also been a donor to the Clinton Foundation.
Weapons manufacturer Honeywell was a contractor to Clinton foundation donor countries “that the State Department criticized for human rights violations and that received weapons export authorizations.”
Honeywell donated $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation, along with five other companies “benefiting from U.S. State Department arms export approvals,” while Clinton was Secretary of State.
Emails on Clinton’s private server show that David Cote, Honeywell CEO, had “personally requested assistance, but the exact favor he asked of Clinton was redacted by the State Department…Honeywell not only gave to the Clinton Foundation and officially lobbied the State Department, it contributed heavily to a political project dear to the secretary: the U.S. pavilion at the 2010 World's Fair in Shanghai.”
Merck became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006. The company has donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and spent
millions on lobbying efforts while Clinton was Secretary of State, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
10. Corning was a top contributor to Senator Hillary Clinton. She persuaded the Chinese government to reduce tariffs on some of its products. Employees and company executives gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Clinton’s campaign and PAC.
In conclusion, as Doug Henwood said in a recent talk, "The Clintons are one giant influence peddling and shakedown operation." We can do better.