Apple CEO Tim Cook’s fundraising breakfast for House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday was the talk of Silicon Valley. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speculated that it was a silly mistake. “Poor Tim. What a nice guy he is, but somebody gave him bad advice,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He probably doesn’t think that much about politics.”
Cook, after all, has been outspoken in his opposition to Republican-backed anti-LGBT measures and has refused to provide any support for the Republican convention on account of Donald Trump’s more virulent positions.
But the bottom line is the bottom line.
Apple has billions of dollars stored in subsidiaries in offshore tax havens — about $181 billion, in fact — more than any other U.S. corporation. And he needs Republican help to be allowed to bring it back to the U.S. without paying the statutory 35 percent corporate tax rate.
Federal lobbying disclosures show that Apple lobbied Congress on a bill that would make it easier for U.S. businesses and corporations to repatriate their assets to the United States and pay a significantly discounted tax rate.
Speaker Ryan’s tax policy agenda, which was unveiled last week, includes that feature, as well as a territorial tax system in which U.S. companies wouldn’t have to pay U.S. taxes for money earned abroad.
Cook doesn’t take lightly to accusations that his company is dodging taxes. “Apple pays every tax dollar we owe,” Cook told CBS last year. He added: “We pay more taxes in this country than anyone.”