Hillary Clinton has financial relationships with some of America’s biggest corporate tax dodgers.
Bernie Sanders recently outed the 10 biggest multinational corporations that paid no federal taxes for at least one year between 2008 and 2012. Sanders has made reining in corporate tax dodgers a key point of his presidential platform. In a recent press release, the Sanders campaign laid out the Vermont senator’s plans to force multinational corporations to pay their fair share in taxes:
To crack down on corporate tax avoiders, Sanders would:
End a rule allowing American corporations to defer paying federal income taxes on profits of offshore subsidiaries. Under current law, U.S. corporations are allowed to defer or delay U.S. income taxes on overseas profits until the money is brought back into the United States.
Prevent corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by claiming to be a foreign company through the establishment of a post office box in a tax-haven country.
Eliminate tax breaks for big oil, gas, and coal companies.
Stop American companies from avoiding U.S. taxes through corporate inversions.
Close loopholes that allow U.S. corporations to artificially inflate or accelerate foreign tax credits.
As it turns out, all ten of those same companies are some of Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors, whether to her campaign or to her family foundation.
1. General Electric
According to data from the nonpartisan group Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), GE posted $33.9 billion in U.S. profits, yet somehow got $2.9 billion in refunds in that same time period. According to the book Clinton Cash, then-Secretary of State Clinton lobbied the Algerian government for a GE power plant contract. After Algeria awarded the contract to GE, Jeffrey Immelt — CEO of GE — gave a donation to the Clinton Foundation. Sanders also pointed out that while Immelt sat on the board of the New York Federal Reserve, the Fed gave GE $16 billion in financial assistance.
Boeing is one of the nation’s biggest corporate tax dodgers, making over $20 billion in profits between 2008 and 2012 and paying an overall income tax rate of negative one percent during those years. Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer noted that after Secretary Clinton successfully lobbied the Russian government to enter into a $3.7 billion contract to buy Boeing’s aircraft, the aerospace company gave the Clinton Foundation a hefty donation of $900,000.
In the four years between 2008 and 2012, Verizon pocketed over $30 billion in profits and paid a tax rate of -1.8 percent, according to CTJ. The Sanders campaign’s research claims that in 2012 alone, Verizon would have paid $630 million in income taxes had they been unable to stash U.S. profits in offshore tax havens.
Verizon has given between $118,000 and $300,000 to the Clinton Foundation in recent years. And as Zaid Jilani reported in Alternet last year, Hillary Clinton is the favored candidate of numerous Verizon executives, many of whom have given the maximum donation to her 2016 effort:
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.
To contrast, Sanders appeared at a rally for striking Verizon workers in New York City last year, demanding the company meet the workers’ demands and admonishing its executives for the company’s greedy practices.
4. Bank of America
In 2010, Bank of America got a whopping $1.9 billion refund from the IRS despite making $4.4 billion in profit. And the Institute for Policy Studies reported that Bank of America has over 300 foreign subsidiaries in countries and territories universally known as tax havens, like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
In his recent groundbreaking report for The Intercept, Jilani reported that Bank of America paid Hillary Clinton $225,000 in speaking fees after her tenure as Secretary of State.
Citigroup was the largest recipient of federal bailout money, getting an astonishing $2.5 trillion after the financial crisis even though they played a major role in the financial meltdown. Citi also paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2010 despite making profits in excess of $4 billion. Had the bank been unable to utilize offshore tax havens, it would have paid $11.5 billion in federal taxes in 2012.
According to campaign finance database OpenSecrets.org, Citigroup is Hillary Clinton’s top donor, having given over $824,000 in campaign contributions throughout her political career.
The Connecticut-based pharmaceutical giant is notorious for its tax avoidance strategies, paying $0 in federal income tax between 2010 and 2012 and getting a $2.2 billion tax refund despite posting $43 billion in global profits.
Pfizer executives gave nearly $40,000 to Clinton’s presidential campaign between April and September 2015. And Pfizer itself has given between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to donor records obtained by the Washington Times.
In 2011, FedEx made $2.7 billion in profit, yet they were given a $135 million tax refund from the IRS that same year. FedEx also receives $1 billion a year in corporate welfare from the U.S. Post Office — its chief competitor — to use its aircraft to transport U.S. mail.
FedEx has given anywhere between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. The company was also one of four corporations to bundle a $2.5 million donation to Clinton’s new diplomacy center (Boeing was another).
Despite making over $3 billion in combined profits between 2009 and 2010, Honeywell paid $0 in federal income taxes and got roughly $510 million in refunds. Honeywell CEO David Cote was also one of the loudest voices on the Fix The Debt campaign, calling for the Social Security and Medicare age to be raised to 70.
Honeywell, a prominent weapons manufacturer, also gave $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. At the same time, Honeywell and others had their weapons shipped to countries blasted by international watchdogs for their deplorable records on human rights.
Merck is one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies and biggest tax dodgers — in 2009, Merck pocketed $5.7 billion in profits, yet paid $0 in federal taxes. Merck successfully got out of paying $18.69 billion in federal taxes in 2012 by stashing $53.4 billion of its U.S. profits in overseas tax havens.
The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Merck donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation after becoming a member of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006. It also spent millions on lobbying the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
CTJ reports that between 2008 and 2012, Corning made over $3.4 billion in profits and got a $10 million tax refund, paying a 0.1 percent federal tax rate. The Sanders campaign pointed out that Corning CEO Wendell Weeks has called for the retirement age to be raised to 70, while he himself has a $22.8 million retirement account.
While Clinton headed up the State Department, Corning lobbied heavily for multiple policies on which it stood to reap financial gains, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton, in turn, lobbied China to lower tariffs on the type of goods manufactured by Corning. The company has also donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation and paid the former Secretary of State $225,000 in speaking fees after she announced her presidential campaign.