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Fleecing Uncle Sam; A growing number of corporations spend more on executive compensation than federal income taxes

November 26, 2014 Comments off

Fleecing Uncle Sam; A growing number of corporations spend more on executive compensation than federal income taxes
Source: Institute for Policy Studies

This report reveals stark indicators of the extent to which large corporations are avoiding their fair share of taxes.

Of America’s 30 largest corporations, seven (23 percent) paid their CEOs more than they paid in federal income taxes last year.

  • All seven of these firms were highly profitable, collectively reporting more than $74 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits. However, they received a combined total of $1.9 billion in refunds from the IRS.
  • The seven CEOs leading these tax-dodging corporations were paid $17.3 million on average in 2013. Boeing and Ford Motors both paid their CEOs more than $23 million last year while receiving large tax refunds.

Of America’s 100 highest-paid CEOs, 29 received more in pay last year than their company paid in federal income taxes—up from 25 out of the top 100 in our 2010 and 2011 surveys.

  • These 29 CEOs made $32 million on average last year. Their corporations reported $24 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits and yet, as a group, claimed $238 million in tax refunds.
  • Combined, the 29 companies operate 237 subsidiaries in tax havens. The company with the most subsidiaries in tax havens was Abbott Laboratories, with 79. The pharmaceutical firm’s CEO paycheck was $4 million larger than its IRS bill in 2013.

For corporations to reward one individual, no matter how talented, more than they are contributing to the cost of all the public services needed for business success reflects the deep flaws in our corporate tax system. Rather than more tax breaks, Congress should focus on addressing these deep flaws by cracking down on the use of tax havens, eliminating wasteful corporate subsidies, and closing loopholes that encourage excessive executive compensation.

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Pharma Pays $825 Million to Doctors and Hospitals, ACA’s Sunshine Act Reveals

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Pharma Pays $825 Million to Doctors and Hospitals, ACA’s Sunshine Act Reveals
Source: Brookings Institution

A not so well-known provision of the Affordable Care Act is the Sunshine Act. The purpose of this act is to increase the transparency in the health care market by requiring doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers to disclose their financial relationships. Mandated by the Sunshine Act, on September 30th, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publicly released the first set of data, under the Open Payments title. This data includes $3.5 billion paid to over half a million doctors and teaching hospitals in the last five months of 2013.

A subset of Open Payments data that is individually identifiable includes two categories of payments. The first category are the payments that are made for other reasons such as travel reimbursement, royalties, speaking and consulting fees and the second are payments which are made as research grants. These datasets together include more than 2.3 million financial transactions which amount to a total of more than $825 million.

Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure — Updated October 2014

November 17, 2014 Comments off

Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure — Updated October 2014 (Word)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel

The Standards of Conduct Office of the Department of Defense General Counsel’s Office has assembled the following selection of cases of ethical failure for use as a training tool. Our goal is to provide DoD personnel with real examples of Federal employees who have intentionally or unwittingly violated the standards of conduct. Some cases are humorous, some sad, and all are real. Some will anger you as a Federal employee and some will anger you as an American taxpayer.

Please pay particular attention to the multiple jail and probation sentences, fines, employment terminations and other sanctions that were taken as a result of these ethical failures. Violations of many ethical standards involve criminal statutes. Protect yourself and your employees by learning what you need to know and accessing your Agency ethics counselor if you become unsure of the proper course of conduct. Be sure to access them before you take action regarding the issue in question. Many of the cases displayed in this collection could have been avoided completely if the offender had taken this simple precaution.

The cases have been arranged according to offense for ease of access. Feel free to reproduce and use them as you like in your ethics training program. For example – you may be conducting a training session regarding political activities. Feel free to copy and paste a case or two into your slideshow or handout – or use them as examples or discussion problems. If you have a case you would like to make available for inclusion in a future update of this collection, please email it to OSD.SOCO@MAIL.MIL or you may fax it to (703) 695-4970.

See previous: Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure (Updated July 2013)

Drivers of Corruption : A Brief Review

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Drivers of Corruption : A Brief Review
Source: World Bank

Corruption is motivated by the possibility of securing something of value for oneself and one’s allies. The desire to secure benefits is a human trait and generally positive for development; various forms of rewards drive humans to get up in the morning, do a good job, and act responsibly. The discussion now turns to the opportunity to secure more benefits than are entitled to within the existing rules of the game ; specifically, the opportunity to grab at the expense of society. A decision maker has the authority to influence an outcome that matters to the briber. For steering a decision in the briber s direction, the decision maker is compensated with a bribe. The steered decision and the bribe now become assets that usually exceed what at least one of the players would have obtained without the corrupt act. The opportunity to seize assets through some form of power misuse differs across sectors, organizations, and decision-making situations. This chapter describes the circumstances in which the risk of corruption is particularly high in other words, where the drivers of corruption can be found.

Categories: ethics, governance, World Bank

Posthumously Conceived Children: An International and Human Rights Perspective

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Posthumously Conceived Children: An International and Human Rights Perspective
Source: Journal of Law & Health

This essay considers posthumous conception from an international and child-centered approach. After a sketch in Part I of the phenomenon of posthumous conception and the complexities it evokes, Part II examines the types of issues arising in court cases concerning posthumous conception. Part III considers how courts in their rulings have addressed the welfare and best interests of posthumously conceived children and analyzes the scope and meaning of relevant decisions. Part IV looks into children’s rights or interests raised in those judicial decisions: parental acknowledgement, family structures, identity harm, and inheritance and social benefits. This part draws on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a prime instrument to advance children’s rights on the international level, incorporating as much as possible the perspectives of children. I argue that the discourse must include concern for the rights and interests of posthumously conceived children and that a new special category of children who are “outcast” cannot stand the test of equality and non-discrimination, nor of the entrenched principles of child welfare and best interests. Moreover, I suggest that attending to children’s perspectives may illuminate the gaps in the current discourse and what needs to be addressed. Finally, Part V draws some conclusions and calls for a more relational approach to ensure that posthumously conceived children do not pay the price of their parents’ decisions and that their welfare and best interests are upheld.

Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of America’s Public Services

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of America’s Public Services
Source: Center for Media and Democracy

Maggots, drug smuggling, sex with inmates. As if the news were not already bad enough, shocking new allegations of a murder-for-hire plot are emerging from Michigan as the media digs deeper into that state’s failed outsourcing of prison services.

In 2013, Governor Rick Snyder invited the Philadelphia- based for-profit company Aramark to take over food services in the state’s prisons. The action was a 180-degree change in course, as the administration previously rejected all such bids on the grounds that none of the proposals would save the state money. The $570,000 Aramark spent on lobbying surely helped the company persuade the administration to change its mind.

Since Aramark took over Michigan’s $145 million food service contract – eviscerating the stable middle class jobs of some 370 public workers – one stomach churning scandal followed another. The state fined Aramark $98,000 in March for food shortages, “unauthorized menu substitutions” and sexual relations between kitchen workers and inmates, and another $200,000 in August after problems persisted.

All the while, the Snyder administration has stood behind the company and the state prison director secretly waived the $98,000 fine soon after it was imposed. Perhaps Snyder will reconsider this position given new allegations that an Aramark worker has asked a prisoner to assist him with the murder of another inmate.

While Aramark’s failed outsourcing of prison food services is a dramatic example of the harms that can arise from the America’s public services and assets, this report, Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of America’s Public Services, contains many other cases of outsourcing run amok generating worse outcomes for the public, often higher costs, lawsuits and scorching headlines.

While large corporations are the winners in this scenario, all too often taxpayers are the losers when transparency, accountability and the public interest are sold out to for-profit firms.

Gym Memberships, Gift Cards, and Hair Salons: Examining the Misuse of Government-Supplied Credit Cards (Hearing)

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Gym Memberships, Gift Cards, and Hair Salons: Examining the Misuse of Government-Supplied Credit Cards
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform

Witness and Testimony Documents
Ms. Anne Richards
Assistant Inspector General for Audits
Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ms. Janet Kasper
Director, Contracts and Assistance Agreement Audits,
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Mr. Elliot Lewis
Assistant Inspector General for Audits
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor

Mr. John Lyle
Deputy Assistant Secretary (Contracting)
U.S. Air Force

Mr. H.L. Larry
Deputy Director of Air Force Services
U.S. Air Force

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