MEMO: Corporate Money Is Corrupting Reconciliation Process
DATE: Thursday, September 30, 2021
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US President
SUBJECT: Corporate Money Is Corrupting Reconciliation Process
Democrats in Congress stand at a crossroads. They have the numbers and the public behind them to deliver on President Biden’s calls for transformational investments in child care, education, caregiving, and clean energy that will lower costs, cut taxes for working families, and help revitalize the economy.
These investments are paid for by ensuring the super-rich and big corporations finally contribute their fair share towards an economy that works for everyone. For millions of families that were struggling to get ahead even before the ongoing public health crisis, the Build Back Better agenda is exactly the help they need and voted for. Like the 92% in Arizona and 93% in West Virginia that would benefit from expanded Child Tax Credit in the Biden plan.
It’s not often stars align in favor of everyday working families, and it may not happen again for years. It makes no sense to squander this opportunity to level the playing field for everyday Americans after years of Washington keeping their thumb on the scale for millionaires and billion dollar corporations — especially wasteful tax breaks for the rich that never manage to trickle-down to anyone else.
And yet, there are some Democrats that are choosing to adopt the ‘concerns’ of the corporate special interests that have managed to do well even during a pandemic and effectively want to keep the system rigged in their favor. It’s a red flag that money from greedy industries have corrupted the reconciliation process, which watchdog Accountable.US has been documenting extensively:
Sinema Took $920k From Corporate Interests Opposing The Build Back Better Agenda, Now She Threatens To Derail The Plan. An Accountable.US report found that Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) — who has recently threatened to “derail” the reconciliation bill — has taken at least $923,000 from the industry groups leading the lobbying blitz against the Build Back Better agenda, or from the individual corporations these groups represent. This includes $6,000 Sinema received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce PAC — whose leadership boards are packed with corporations that have given her $448,365 — that have vowed to do “everything we can” to block Biden’s budget after offering Sinema a “reward” for resisting Biden’s agenda earlier this year. Adding insult to injury, now comes reports that Sinema is holding a ritzy fundraiser with five business lobbying groups, many of whom fiercely oppose the popular Biden plan.
- READ MORE: New Republic: Kyrsten Sinema Is Corporate Lobbies’ Million-Dollar Woman
Moderate Dems Holding Up Build Back Better Plan Took $150K from Corporate Interests in August Alone. Accountable.US found that in August 2021 alone – in the heat of Congressional negotiations on the Build Back Better agenda – the moderate Democrats holding up the reconciliation process, including Sens. Sinema, Manchin, and U.S. Reps. Cuellar, Gonzalez, Gottheimer, Schrader, and Murphy, banked over $150,000 in campaign donations from corporate interests — including those that are helping lead business groups opposing the bill.
- READ MORE: Sludge: Corporate PACs Reward Democrats Opposing Reconciliation Package
Megacorporations That Banked Billions From Trump Tax Cuts and Have Histories of Tax Evasion Now Lobbying Against Biden Plan Making Them Pay Their Fair Share. An Accountable.US report found several major corporations lobbying against the Biden agenda on corporate tax fairness were awarded tens of billions of dollars from the 2017 Trump tax cuts, including AT&T, Walmart, Apple, FedEx and JPMorgan. Another Accountable.US review found a group of major corporations– including Walgreens, Shell Oil, and Accenture – that have spoken out and/or lobbied against the tax provisions in President Biden’s Build Back Better blueprint have sordid histories of tax avoidance and tax schemes, amounting to billions of dollars in lost federal revenue.
- READ MORE: The Intercept: Companies Lobbying Against Infrastructure Tax Increases Have Avoided Paying Billions in Taxes
Billionaire-Funded Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Bogus “Studies” Attacking Biden Economic Plan. Accountable.US found that several of the allegedly “independent” studies corporations and Republican lawmakers rely on to attack President Biden’s Build Back Better plan are actually backed by corporate interests and conservative dark money forces that would benefit from blocking any changes to the status quo, including higher corporate taxes.
- READ MORE: Mother Jones: There’s a Flurry of Studies Trashing the Democrats’ Tax Agenda. They Have Corporate and GOP Dark Money Ties.
Corporate Front Groups Spending Millions on Ads Pretending Biden Tax Fairness Plan Isn’t About Them. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Action Network are among the groups behind millions of dollars in ads smearing the Biden Build Back Better plan to make investments beneficial to working- and middle-class families while ensuring rich corporations pay their fair share. An Accountable.US analysis found that between 2009 and 2017, AAN received $12 million from Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the top lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry.
Republicans In Congress Blame Unenacted Biden BBB Plan for High Meat Prices, Conveniently Ignore Big Meatpackers’ History of Price-Fixing and Gouging. While congressional Republicans continue to blame the yet-to-be-enacted Build Back Better Agenda for price inflation around meat prices and everyday goods, an Accountable.US review of the big-four U.S. meat processing companies found all have been subject to serious price-fixing lawsuits, with several already agreeing to pay at least $400 million in fines and settlements in recent years for manipulating prices, and even colluding with one another.
- NBC News: Liberal group points to meat companies as reason for higher grocery store prices
- The Hill: Watchdog: Penalties meatpackers paid for price-fixing to blame for higher prices
BOTTOM LINE: Corporate interests will say or do anything to preserve the broken status quo, including lie to families that overdue investments in childcare, education, and climate change are somehow not in their interest. Democrats in Congress are the last people who should be saying and doing it for them.
These special interests don’t care about regular Americans trying to keep a roof over their heads and get by, they only care about making Trump’s irresponsible tax breaks for the rich permanent at the expense of nearly everyone else. Every lawmaker in Congress need only look at the stack of recent polls to recognize the public is fully behind them if they make corporations pay their fair share and deliver transformational investments in our future.
What good is chasing after corporate money if at the end of the day, lawmakers have nothing to show for it for the families they actually represent?
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