Companies on the list include Verizon (VZ), International Paper (IP), Prudential Financial (PRU), GE (GE), BNY Mellon (BK), Boeing (BA), Marsh & McLennan (MMC), Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), Chesapeake Energy (CHK), and Ebay (EBAY). (See the gallery below for the report's full list of compensation and refund details.)
The report also challenged the gap between CEO pay and those of the average workers at the companies they run. "The gap between CEO and average U.S. worker pay rose from 263-to-1 in 2009 to 325-to-1 last year."
The Institute for Policy Studies report says that Congress must take action to close the tax loopholes that allow companies to pay low taxes in comparison to their earnings and even listed potential government remedies to corporate tax dodging. They include: closing "numerous loopholes that facilitate tax dodging through abuse of tax havens" and mandating "that corporations take the same deduction for stock-based executive compensation on their tax returns as they do in shareholder financial reports." Legislation has already been introduced in Congress on both matters.
The Institute also said that laws which give shareholders little voice in corporate governance shield CEOs from questions about pay packages. But because the companies are public, one of the most important opinions should be those of the shareholders. GE shares, for example have underperformed the S&P 500 during the last year. But, shares in eBay and Verizon have done better by the same measure. The stockholders of the firms that did outperform the market may not care about what the companies in which they own shares paid to Uncle Sam.