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Weiland Bashes Tax-Dodging by Inversion and Corporate Personhood

Last month, Minneapolis-based Medtronic acquired a big Irish corporation so it could create a new headquarters on paper in Dublin and pay Ireland's lower corporate tax rate.

The financerazzi call the Medtronic move inversion. Democratic candidate for Senate Rick Weiland calls it flat-out wrong:

What happens in Inversion is a company moves its headquarters to another country - such as Ireland - to avoid paying taxes. Meanwhile, they continue to receive all the other benefits of being an American company. They, in-effect, renounce their citizenship, which is really odd since the Supreme Court keeps telling us that corporations are people!

It's flat out wrong these companies are fleeing the country to avoid paying taxes but expect to face no consequences.

...I say no more. No more to Inversions. No more to corporations masquerading as people. No more payouts to big money special interests [Rick Weiland, press release, 2014.07.08].

Did I just hear Weiland say he rejects the idea of corporate personhood, just like his friend Elizabeth Warren? Wow! That's one more reason for Lawrence Lessig and the MaydayPAC to use South Dakota's Senate race as a testing ground for their challenge to big corporate money in politics.

As Weiland spends his morning on Minnesota Avenue, I hope he's jawboning voters about the ills of inversion and the absurdity of corporate personhood.


  1. Jerry 2014.07.09

    Walgreens is getting ready to do the same in Switzerland while they take in millions from Medicare and Medicaid.

  2. wal 2014.07.09

    Microsoft has been in Ireland for years............In April the US Govt tried to get some records from Microsoft and they will not get them because they are in Ireland. Most of Microsoft's technology is held under Irish based companies.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.09

    This is a major issue nationwide.

    How about this? If the company is led by Americans, or a majority of Americans, it's an American business and must pay American taxes.

  4. John 2014.07.10

    Medtronic's inversion is a major tax blow to local investors and governments as many investors face 6-figure tax liabilities from the forced stock swaps as the IRS taxes o their Medtronic stock up 29.7%, more for other folks.

    The corporate personhood nonsense and offshore tax shell games must stop.

  5. Craig 2014.07.10

    If you recall back in the 1990s when Gateway was Gateway 2000, they decided to "go international" and expanded into Ireland. At the time I thought it was an odd choice, but it seems there were plans to use it as a tax haven. The only problem was Gateway was so horribly managed, their plans fell apart and as they struggled to remain releveant during the dot com bust, they were forced to abandon Ireland (and their store model, their expansion plans into consumer electronics, and many other bold ideas they were thinking about at the time).

    That said, Deb might be on the right track, but I don't think we can look at who leads a company to determine tax status. That would likely lead to American companies hiring CEOs with residency in other countries... and it wouldn't solve the issue. I think the actual solution is to simply state if a company does business in the US, sells a product or service in the US, or generates any form of profit within our borders then those profits need to be taxed at US corporate rates rather than taxed in the nation where their headquarters may reside.

    I'm not a tax attorney, but clearly this shouldn't be as difficult as we make it. Then again, I do not believe our current Congress has the fortitude to be able to resolve this issue, primarily because the GOP is only interested in lowering the corporate tax rate with no consideration of anything else, while the Democrats focus upon eliminating tax loopholes, shelters, and havens without the votes in the House to gain any momentum.

    By the way - if corporations are people, then why can't we arrest them for fraud, theft, or even murder? If they want the same rights as citizens, they need to be held to the same standards... and that includes paying the same taxes and being at risk of the same punishments for breaking the law.

  6. larry kurtz 2014.07.10

    South Dakota is a tax haven sheltering trillions for cheap asses like Xcel, NorthWestern Energy, Wells Fargo and others. If Larry Pressler really cared he'd lead on ending free banking.

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