Two remarkable reports out late last week delve into the dirty world of corrupting money funneled from corporate coffers to the halls of Congress, and back again.
U.S. PIRG and the Center for Tax Justice (CTJ) released their report, "Loopholes for Sale: Campaign Contributions by Corporate Tax Dodgers." This study of Fortune 500 companies found how much profit from tax breaks corporations can make when they pour endless contributions into the treasuries of congressional representatives.
Another report, "Family Affiar," came from Citizens for Responsibility of Ethics in Washington (CREW). This encyclopedic study shows just how members of Congress use their positions to give expensive special favors to their family members on the public dime.
From the U.S. PIRG/CTJ study:
"280 profitable Fortune 500 companies collectively received $223 billion in tax breaks between 2008 and 2010 while contributing $216 million to Congressional candidates over the last four election cycles...The thirty most aggressive tax dodging corporations—dubbed the 'Dirty Thirty'— collectively paid a negative tax rate between 2008 and 2010 while spending $41 million on Congressional campaign contributions."
And some of CREW's findings:
"[Fourty-four] members [of Congress] (20 Democrats and 24 Republicans) have family members who lobby or are employed in government affairs; 90 members (42 Democrats and 48 Republicans) have paid a family business, employer, or associated nonprofit."
These reports again highlight the culture of corruption that has seeped into the fabric of our democracy. Corporate greed knows no bounds, and the mutual back-scratching between money-grabbing members of Congress and manipulative CEOs is now clear in these two handy studies.