Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a member of the “Gang of Five” Senators hammering out a plan to address the country’s deficit, will hold a fundraiser Thursday morning at a lobby shop of Capitol Tax Partners, a firm whose two top lobbyists were recently named “among the five top tax lobbyists,” according to its website. Three lobbyists for the firm are listed as hosts of the event. The fundraiser will benefit Crapo’s Freedom Fund, leadership PAC.
The “Gang of Five,” of course, is a group of Senators working on a long-term plan to reduce the country’s deficit—a discussion that should involve revenue-generating plans like closing corporate tax loopholes. At the same time, Washington is focused on a battle over raising the debt ceiling, with many Republicans saying that they won’t support any plan that includes “tax increases.”
With long-term deficit reduction a hotly debated issue in Congress, and with members of Congress working on a deal to increase the debt ceiling, the timing of a fundraiser with tax lobbyists is awfully convenient for some of these big companies.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, some of the firm’s biggest clients include:
- General Electric, who paid $240,000 in lobbyng fees to the firm in the first quarter of 2011, is the firm’s biggest client so far this year. General Electric, you might remember, paid no taxes in 2010.
- Citigroup, a recipient of $45 billion in bailout funds, made $4 billion in profits in 2010, but paid $0 in taxes (and actually received a $1.9 billion refund). Citigroup Management Corporation paid Capitol Tax Partners $50,000 so far this year.
- Goldman Sachs is also a client, paying the firm $60,000 in the first quarter. They made a $2.3 billion profit in 2008 while paying just 1.1 percent of its income in taxes that year.
- Verizon paid the firm $50,000 in the first quarter. The company received nearly a half million in government contracts in 2008 and billions over the past decade. Verizon made a $12 billion profit in 2010, but paid nothing in federal income taxes that year.
- Apple, who paid the firm $80,000 in the first quarter, is one of the leading groups in a campaign to allow for their oversees profits to be brought back to the U.S. tax-free, or “repatriated.”
Other clients include Delta Airlines, Amgen, Altria (the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris), Clean Coal Solutions, and several financial industry corporations.
In May, Sen. Mike Crapo attended a fundraiser hosted by a BP lobbyist just hours before a hearing on wasteful taxpayer subsidies for oil companies.