Release: Assembly Passes 2013 Fair Elections ActView Update
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For Immediate Release: February 21, 2013
Contact: Stephen Pampinella, 631.672.9501
New Data Shows Multinational Corporations Spent $670,000 on Campaigns, Cost NY Billions Hiding Profits in Offshore Tax Havens
New Yorkers to Demand Publicly Financed Fair Elections to Reduce Corporate Influence on State Tax Policy, Save Billions
Albany, NY - Today, organizations supporting publicly financed Fair Elections released new campaign finance research showing that multinational corporations, which have taken advantage of offshore tax havens to hide income costing New York at least $2.4 billion in tax revenue, made more than $670,000 in campaign contributions to state legislative candidates in the last election cycle.
The groups argued that allowing companies to buy tax breaks with campaign contributions is yet another reason why New York must pass publicly financed Fair Elections. Because of the influence of money in politics, New Yorkers lose billions in tax revenue that could be used fund education, health care, and other services that working families rely on. With elected officials who are beholden to their constituents instead of their CEO campaign contributors, it’s likely that New York will save billions.
The corporations were identified by a recent U.S. PIRG report about the ability for state legislatures to address revenue loss from multinational corporations taking advantage of offshore tax havens. The report identified 17 corporations located in New York that have used offshore tax havens, and indicated that New York has lost at least $2.4 billion in tax revenue. In total, these corporations contributed $670,377.30 to state legislative candidates in the last election cycle. The corporations include Citigroup and Bank of America, which made $109,100 and $85,700 in campaign contributions, respectively. The same banks that destroyed the global economy in 2008 and were bailed out by the Federal government now use campaign contributions to influence lawmakers and keep them from closing loopholes.
The data also showed that party campaign committees received $396,255.80 compared to $274,121.50 received by individual campaigns. The individual campaigns that received the most contributions were Republican Senate Conference Leader Dean Skelos (R – Rockville Centre), who received $18,500, the most contributions of any New York State lawmaker. The second-highest amount of contributions went to State Senator Tom Libous (R-Binghamton), who received $17,600.
Rather than permit these corporations to keep open loopholes with big campaign cash, residents called on New York State lawmakers to pass publicly-financed Fair Elections and amplify the voices of ordinary New Yorkers. By enacting a small donor matching system, working- and middle-class New Yorkers will be better able to influence legislative debates on tax policy. All New Yorkers should be heard in such discussions to ensure that wealthy elites cannot avoid paying their fair share.
“There’s no question that CEO campaign contributors are looking for something in return for their big donations,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. ”This new analysis shows that if New York had tax policies that make good economic sense, instead of giving away taxpayer cash to multinational corporations, we’d save billions. Publicly financed Fair Elections is how we can make our state’s policies reflect the best interests of New Yorkers instead of the interests of corporate donors.”
“If New York State is to be a democracy worthy of the name, then our legislators have a moral obligation to guarantee that campaign financing does not enable affluent corporations to silence those who seek to reform our tax codes.” said Sara Niccoli, Executive Director of the Labor Religion Coalition of New York State. “We need publicly financed Fair Elections to ensure that lawmakers hear all our voices and do not allow corporations to avoid their responsibility to all New Yorkers.”
“The sad reality of today’s electoral process is that the vast majority of New Yorkers are ignored in their calls for tax fairness,” said Willie White, Executive Director of AVillage Works. ”We need to pass Fair Elections and ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of income, can participate in our political campaigns and be heard in discussions about tax policy.”
“These campaign contributions have skewed legislative priorities and distorted tax policies in favor of major corporations,” said Charlotte Allen, a member of the Albany Chapter of Democracy Matters.“If Fair Elections were passed, we might have a fighting chance at recouping billions in lost revenue that could be used to fund much needed state services like K-12 and higher education.”
|Contributions by Corporation|
|JP Morgan Chase||$114,890.25|
|Bank of America||$85,700.00|
|Total Contributions by Corporations||$670,377.30|
Contributions by Party
Contributions by Chamber
Contributions by Recipient
|Contributions to Candidates and Committees|
|Abbate, Peter J.||$1,350.00|
|TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDIVIDUALS||$274,121.50|
|Total to Committees||$396,255.80|