Transaction tax

Former Sinema aide now fights tax hikes as lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase

A former senior adviser to “centrist” Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, is a key lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank and a major opponent of President Biden’s proposed corporate tax increases – which Sinema is also opposed to.

Sinema’s refusal to approve Biden’s Build Back Better plan for its $ 3.5 trillion price tag has become a major obstacle to Biden’s agenda. Sinema, a former member of the Green Party who campaign on lowering drug prices and previously called on big business and the rich to “Pay their fair share”, also opposed the Democrats’ plan to reduction in prescription drug costs and raise the taxes on the rich and big business, in the midst of a massive lobbying blitz by companies and industrial groups aiming to torpedo the bill.

former legislative director and senior political adviser of Sinema, Alyssa Marois, is now lobbying on behalf of JPMorgan Chase, a massive investment bank and holding company with more than $ 3.6 trillion in assets, which the Financial Time is the world’s largest lender to the fossil fuel industry. The bank has donated $ 47,500 to the Sinema campaign and related PACs, and has been one of the main criticisms of the corporate tax hike proposed by Biden.

Marois was listed last year as vice president of federal government relations for the bank and director of government relations for the company in his last Filing of the Federal Election Commission. The job involves developing “relationships with key decision makers”, coordinating with “industry professional associations to maximize efficiency” and building industry coalitions on “issues of common interest”. The post is part of JP Morgan Chase’s government relations and public policy group, which the bank says “Directs the political spending of our company”.

JPMorgan Chase has spent over $ 1.3 million lobbying on “corporate tax issues” and other issues between the first and second quarter of this year, according to its lobbying statements.

Marois herself has actively lobbied on several issues where the banking industry disagrees with the Biden administration, according to the disclosures. Among other things, she lobbied the Senate and House on financial matters relating to banking structure, capital requirements, “review and enforcement matters” and other banking regulatory matters. In recent months, the banking sector has intensified his fight against regulations proposed in the Build Back Better plan to increase IRS enforcement against wealthy tax evasion. Banks are put pressure on lawmakers to drop a plan requiring them to report transaction data to the IRS to help fight tax evasion.

JPMorgan Chase was one of the main beneficiaries of the Republican tax cuts signed by Donald Trump in 2017, which slashed the 40% corporate tax rate. The bank saved $ 8.7 billion in 2018 and 2019 on its IRS bill, according to Bloomberg. Trump even urged a senior JPMorgan executive to “thank” him for the new profits at a meeting, the outlet reported.

Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, well below the 35% it was before Trump’s tax cuts. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon earlier this year called the proposed tax increase a “a little crazy” and fired Biden’s plan to raise the capital gains tax rate to nearly 40%. Dimon is sitting on the Board of directors of the Business Roundtable, which includes the CEOs of some of the country’s largest companies and is committed to “Important and multifaceted campaign” stop the proposed tax increases. The business roundtable has rented the bipartisan Senate infrastructure plan that Sinema helped negotiate, but said he was “deeply concerned about potential tax increases on US job creators” in the Build Back Better proposal.

Still a long time former assistant of Sinema, Kate Gonzales, earlier this year joined upscale lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which is bragging that his “political ties are working” and that former Capitol Hill staff are among his principals. Gonzales is a member of the firm’s Energy, Environment and Resources Strategies group, where she “provides insight into democratic priorities,” according to the company. “She is highly qualified to develop compelling messages for Democrats and moderate Republicans,” says her bio. Biden’s spending proposal includes many measures aimed at tackling climate change and cracking down on energy companies.

Meanwhile, Sinema’s current chief of staff, Meg Joseph, formerly as a lobbyist at Clark & ​​Weinstock, which has represented Pfizer and other leading pharmaceutical companies and trade groups that oppose Biden’s proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies and medical practices have donated over $ 750,000 to Sinema during his career, of which more than $ 466,000 since his election in 2018.

Sinema also received over $ 920,000 of companies and industry groups leading the lobbying blitz against Biden’s proposal, according to an analysis by progressive government watchdog Accountable.US.

Sinema’s office said in a declaration On Thursday, the senator made it clear for months that “she would not support a bill costing 3.5 trillion dollars.”

“While we do not negotiate through the press – because Senator Sinema respects the integrity of these direct negotiations – she continues to engage directly in good faith discussions with President Biden and Senator [Chuck] Schumer to find common ground, ”the statement said.

Sinema has blocked the media in recent weeks, saying little or nothing beyond bland press releases. But she continued to raise funds from business groups who oppose Biden’s bill. Accountable.US says campaign contributions of competing corporate interests may explain why Sinema continues to oppose proposals that are overwhelmingly supported by voters both nationally and in Arizona.

Sinema’s opposition to Biden’s agenda drew a reprimand from the Arizona Democratic Party last week, which threatened to hold a no-confidence vote against it if it “continues to delay, disrupt or vote to gut” Biden’s plan. Activists who helped her elect her in 2018 as Arizona’s first Democratic senator in a decade have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a potential main challenger, such as Salon first reported Wednesday. At least two other groups have since launched similar efforts to fund a potential main challenger like polls show Sinema’s favor among Democratic voters lags significantly behind fellow Senator Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.

“With the Biden Build Back Better plan on the verge of giving millions of struggling families a chance to move forward, there is too much at stake for this process to be tainted and diluted with influence and typical Washington business money, “Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, said in a statement to Salon. “We hope that Senator Sinema is ultimately guided by the widespread public sentiment in favor of companies paying their fair share and investments that will build an economy for everyone, not just for billion dollar companies.”

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