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Capitol Report: Elizabeth Warren says new tax would make lobbying more expensive for companies like Boeing and Comcast

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is proposing a new tax as part of her plan to “end lobbying as we know it.”

The Massachusetts senator on Wednesday outlined what she called an “excessive lobbying tax,” under which companies that spend between $500,000 and $1 million a year on lobbying would pay a 35% tax on those expenditures. For spending above $1 million, the rate would increase to 60%, and for lobbying outlays of more than $5 million, the rate would go to 75%.

Revenue from the new tax would go to a new “Lobbying Defense Trust Fund” that would “fight back” against lobbyists and help make Congress more independent from the influence industry, she said in a blog post. Federal agencies that face significant lobbying also would get money from the fund, and the tax would help establish a new Office of the Public Advocate, according to Warren.

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“My new lobbying tax will make hiring armies of lobbyists significantly more expensive for the largest corporate influencers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boeing BA, -2.14% and Comcast,” said Warren, who currently ranks second among the Democratic presidential contenders in a RealClearAverage of polls. “Sure, this may mean that some corporations and industry groups will choose to reduce their lobbying expenditures, raising less tax revenue down the road — but in that case, all the better.”

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Warren’s campaign provides estimates for how much some big spenders would have owed over the past 10 years in lobbying taxes.

For Blue Cross Blue Shield and Comcast Corp. CMCSA, -0.79% , Warren’s campaign provided estimates for how much they would have owed over the past 10 years in lobbying taxes — $163 million and $105 million, respectively. The above chart from the campaign also indicates that Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG, -2.70%GOOGL, -2.70% would have owed $94.9 million over that same period, and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -1.64% and Facebook Inc. FB, -0.90% each would have paid $39.1 million.

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