REPORT: Corporations Spending The Most On Lobbying See Their Tax Rates Drop

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"REPORT: Corporations Spending The Most On Lobbying See Their Tax Rates Drop"

Two-thirds of the largest 200 U.S. corporations lobbied on at least one tax bill between 2007 and 2010, and here’s why: the majority of them ended up paying lower taxes in 2010.

The eight major corporations that spent the most on lobbying, for a total $540 million, all saw their tax rates decrease. According to a Sunlight Foundation report, the odds that those companies saw lower rates merely by chance is less than 1 in 100. The odds that six of those corporations paid seven percentage points less is even lower, at only 1 in 100,000.

Instead, the reduction was likely a result of their presence in Washington, lobbying for tax giveaways.

Company

2007-2010 decline

2007 rate

2010 rate

2007- 2009 lobbying (in millions)

Estimated tax reduction (in millions)

Exxon Mobil

-1.1%

41.8%

40.7%

$81.92

-$565.32

Verizon Communications

-7.9%

27.4%

19.4%

$77.58

-$1,005.51

General Electric

-7.6%

15.0%

7.4%

$73.17

-$1,082.70

At&T

-40.4%

34.0%

-6.4%

$70.96

-$7,359.95

Altria

-1.6%

28.9%

27.4%

$63.31

-$160.66

Amgen

-7.1%

20.1%

13.0%

$58.33

-$377.16

Northrop Grumman

-11.4%

32.9%

21.5%

$57.56

-$296.08

Boeing

-7.1%

33.7%

26.5%

$56.99

-$321.5

Median among 200 companies

-0.6%

31.8%

31.6%

$5.48

-$13.08


These companies are notorious for tax dodging, like ExxonMobil, which spent the most on lobbying and paid $565 million less in taxes. AT&T received the greatest return on lobbying, paying $7.3 billion less. Both of these companies spent even more on lobbying in 2011, with Exxon spending up by $300,000 and AT&T’s up $4,834,922. Exxon’s 2011 tax rate decreased from 17.6 to 13 percent in 2011.

The Huffington Post also pointed to a 2011 study finding that the 280 most profitable corporations paid an average 18.5 percent tax rate, benefiting from industry-specific tax breaks, loopholes and offshore tax shelters.

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