Soon after losing his 2018 primary against progressive newcomer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in a major political upset, 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley joined one of K Street's largest lobbying outfits, and fresh reporting reveals that the former chair of the House Democratic Caucus is now working to torpedo his party's proposed tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy.
A recently filed document on the Senate's disclosure website shows that Crowley and other lobbyists at Squire Patton Boggs—a massive corporate law firm whose clients include Amazon, Royal Dutch Shell, UnitedHealth, and the Saudi monarchy—were hired in July by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), "one of Wall Street's most powerful advocacy groups," The Intercept reported Friday.
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"SIFMA, whose members range from BlackRock and J.P. Morgan to Amazon Web Services and IBM," The Intercept noted, "has deployed Crowley to court his old colleagues as Democrats finalize legislation to implement President Joe Biden's Build Back Better initiative, which seeks a fairer tax system and greater revenue to pay for expanded Medicare coverage, universal pre-K, and other domestic priorities."
According to Sara Sirota, a reporter at the news outlet:
Senior lawmakers-turned-lobbyists like Crowley typically serve their special interest clients by convincing former allies to promote industry talking points to committee chairs or party leaders. On September 24, Texas Democratic Reps. Vicente González, Henry Cuellar, and Filemón Vela sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] a letter criticizing the proposed tax increases on corporations' foreign profits that Crowley is now targeting for SIFMA. Crowley's former leadership PAC donated to all three congressmen's campaigns over his time in Congress, and Vela was a vocal supporter of Crowley's leadership ambitions.
This wasn't the only time González, Cuellar, and Vela tried to undermine House Democrats' Build Back Better Act. They also joined New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer's unsuccessful attempt to weaken the party's unity and commitment to finish the reconciliation process, which allows the bill to pass with a simple majority.
Although Crowley opposed the GOP's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act when he was in Congress—describing it as a "tax scam" benefiting the "largest, wealthiest multinational corporations in the history of the world"—the former lawmaker is now collaborating with Wall Street to undermine Democrats' attempts at progressive reform.
SIFMA is particularly opposed to efforts to raise the rate on global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) from its current level of 10.5%—established four years ago by Republicans and deemed a handout to multinational corporations by Democrats—to 16.5%.
That modest increase is lower than the rate sought by Biden and a majority of congressional Democrats, who want to equalize the GILTI tax rate and the domestic corporate tax rate—now at 21%, but potentially higher if current legislative proposals succeed—in order to disincentivize offshoring.
Sirota pointed out that IBM's "global tax policy director earlier this year said Democrats' plan to fix that scam is 'penalizing companies that have been operating overseas for years.'"
SIFMA has also "made its opposition to the Build Back Better Act's tax increases on the wealthiest individuals clear," Sirota added. "Days after the Ways and Means Committee finished marking it up, SIFMA Managing Director Tim Cameron released a statement on September 17 criticizing capital gains tax hikes, restrictions on individual retirement account contributions, and other changes intended to reduce inequality."