Thirty large American corporations spent more money on lobbying than they paid in federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, according to a report from the nonpartisan reform group Public Campaign.
All of the companies were profitable at the time. In spite of this, and the massive federal budget deficit, 29 out of the 30 companies featured in the study managed through various legal tax-dodging measures to pay no federal income taxes at all from 2008 through 2010. The lone exception, FedEx (FDX), paid a three-year tax rate of 1%, nowhere near the 35% called for by the federal tax code.
In fact, the report explains, the 29 companies that paid no tax actually received tax rebates over those three years, "ranging from $4 million for Corning (GLW) to nearly $5 billion for General Electric (GE)." The total value of the rebates received was nearly $11 billion; combined profits during the same period were $164 billion.
The amounts spent on lobbying ranged from $710,000 by Intergrys Energy Group to $84 million by General Electric. Others that spent heavily on lobbyists were PG&E (PCG), Verizon (VZ), Boeing (BA) and FedEx. It all added up to a total of almost half a billion dollars -- $476 million -- over three years. Or, as the report notes, "in other words, roughly $400,000 each day, including weekends." The same firms spent an additional $22 million on donations to federal campaigns. Logically enough, the two biggest contributors were defense contractors: Honeywell International (more than $5 million) and Boeing ($3.85 million). General Electric wasn't far behind ($3.64 million).
For a complete list of the companies surveyed, as well as information on executive compensation, read the full report.
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