Rep. Cindy Axne & Raygun Founder Mike Draper Unveil New Legislation To Hold Corporations Accountable

February 20, 2020
Press Release

Yesterday, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) announced new legislation alongside Raygun founder Mike Draper to shine a light on which multinational corporations are shifting profits to tax havens and offshoring jobs.

The Disclosure of Tax Havens and Offshoring Act would direct the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to mandate public disclosure of country-by-country financial reports by corporations with annual revenues over $850 million.

The disclosure would show which corporations are employing a pattern of tax avoidance, and would give investors valuable information about the risks public companies are taking. In addition, it would discourage large corporations from utilizing practices that drain the U.S. tax base and hurt Iowa small businesses like Raygun.

“Iowa’s small businesses shouldn’t be put at a disadvantage to large multinational corporations. Nor should big pharmaceutical companies be able to overcharge Americans for prescription drugs and then avoid paying taxes by shifting those profits to tax havens,” said Rep. Axne. “Shining a light on these practices will help investors and the public understand the risks that public corporations are taking to try and squeeze out extra profits.”

“Transparency leads to fairness. Small businesses pay our fair share. Corporations should not be able to offshore tax through secretive tax havens,” said Draper. “It is only in the dark that suddenly tax rates can change and fluctuate, and it is the biggest companies that exploit this darkness to reduce their rate, leaving smaller companies without that power to pick up the tab. There are simple ways, like this policy Rep. Axne has introduced, to bring more transparency to this system and level the playing field for small businesses.”

Full video of the press conference can be found here.

These reports would include country-by-country financial filings for the information – including profits, taxes, employees, and tangible assets – that these corporations already provide to the IRS on an annual basis.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Axne, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA-08), and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35). The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) along with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The legislation has already received the support of the Institute for Taxation and Economy Policy, the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

“The Disclosure of Tax Havens and Offshoring Act would provide straightforward information about where multinational companies do business and pay taxes — codifying the emerging trend toward transparency," said Clark Gascoigne, interim executive director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition"Shining a light on the offshore practices of corporations would help expose abusive tax-dodging schemes — better protecting taxpayers, informing policymakers, and safeguarding investors.”

“With the Trump tax law creating troubling new incentives for multinationals to ship jobs and profits offshore, this important legislation would shine a light on schemes so unfair to small, local businesses. Transparency would both protect investors, wary of aggressive tax shenanigans that skirt the line of legality, and allow the public to assess the damage done,” said Rep. Doggett, a senior Member of the Ways and Means Committee and a longtime advocate for country-by-country reporting.

The legislation was unveiled at Raygun’s world headquarters in Des Moines. 

Raygun is a printing, design, and clothing company that has served Iowa and the Midwest for more than 10 years. Their shirts and other iconic typeface products are union made and almost exclusively manufactured in the U.S.A.

Last fall, a bipartisan House passed Rep. Axne’s Outsourcing Accountability Act, which focuses specifically on holding corporations accountable for outsourcing of jobs by requiring publicly-traded companies to disclose where employees are located by state and country in their annual report.

In January, Rep. Axne also introduced the Offshoring Notification Act to force corporations to disclose planned outsourcing of American jobs and allow American workers to have expedited access to Trade Adjustment Assistance resources ­­– including skills training and workforce development programs.