Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Five corporations that paid no 2009 taxes bought $8 million worth of candidate in 2010

NYC Public Advocate Bill De Blasio has turned the spotlight on corporations that pay no taxes while spending big bucks on political parties, candidates, PACs and the like.

From the Public Advocate website:

Public Advocate de Blasio’s analysis shows the top five recipients of corporate tax breaks avoided paying $3.7 billion in potential taxes in 2009, while also contributing more than $43.1 million to political campaigns over the last decade. During the 2009-2010 election cycle, the group of companies spent a combined $7.86 million in campaign contributions, a 7% jump over their 2007-2008 political spending.

In letters recently sent to Exxon-Mobil and four other corporations, the Public Advocate called on these companies to pledge this latest windfall will not be spent on electioneering. De Blasio is also urging consumers and shareholders to contact Exxon-Mobil’s General Counsel through to urge adoption of a proposed shareholder’s resolution calling for full disclosure of all corporate political spending.
De Blasio's focus on Exxon also spotlights increased spending by the oil and gas industry at a time of both record gas prices and record profits. During the last election cycle, oil and gas nabobs gave more than $30.5 million to federal level political interests, according to Center for Responsive Politics research. This amount includes more than $17.1 million from industry political action committees, nearly $11.4 million from individuals associated with the industry and more than $2 million in outside money the industry spent to independently promote or slam political candidates. Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Chief Oil and Gas led the pack in spending, most of it going to the GOP or conservative "blue dog" Democrats.

The odds of Exxon/Mobil top management or any other corporate players ending the practice of investing in friendly elected officials just because the American people tell them to stop, is, admittedly, far fetched. But given how quiet many officials have been on the issue of political bribery, de Blasio deserves credit for making this issue the Public Advocate's business.

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