The 55 large corporations that paid $0 in federal corporate income taxes in 2020 spent $450 million lobbying and political contributions in recent years, according to a new Public Citizen report, The Price of Zero.
For most of the companies, paying nothing was not enough. The companies paying zero also received $3.5 billion in tax rebates, money they can turn around and spend to influence tax policy.
“Duke Energy could use the $280 million rebate from the federal government to fund its lobbying spending for the next half-century,” said Mike Tanglis, a Public Citizen research director and author of the report. “Using Uncle Sam’s money to lobby against paying taxes is the perfect embodiment of how Washington works.”
Among the findings of the report:
“As Congress looks to pair incredibly important investments in jobs and families with tax changes to raise revenues, it is essential that, as part of that work, it addresses the loopholes that have allowed companies to pay nothing in federal corporate tax,” said Susan Harley, managing director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “In the meantime, it’s critical that the public understand that while paying nothing to support the upkeep of our government, these companies have been spending huge amounts of money to try to keep the game rigged in their favor.”