August 08, 2014

Medtronic Hires Lobbyists Breaux Lott on Tax Inversions Bill

By CREW Staff

Medtronic LogoMedical device manufacturer Medtronic’s planned $42.9 billion acquisition of Irish-based Covidien has become a leading example of a corporate inversion — an American company reincorporating abroad in a bid to slash its tax bill.

The New York Times has reported, however, that the deal includes exit clauses allowing it to fall apart if either Congress or the administration acts to close the inversion loophole. With legislation pending and the administration considering its options, Medtronic is bulking up its lobbying team.

Medtronic in June quietly hired a five-lobbyist team from the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, including former Sens. John Breaux (D-LA) and Trent Lott (R-MS), to lobby on the Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014, legislation introduced by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). Sen. Levin’s brother, Rep. Sander Levin, has filed companion legislation in the House. Breaux Lott, an affiliate of lobbying powerhouse Squire Patton Boggs, filed a lobbying registration last month, as required by law. Both the registration and a second-quarter lobbying disclosure report filed a few days later report the firm will only be lobbying on issues related to Medtronic’s agreement to acquire Covidien, and the only legislation listed is the Stop Corporate Inversion Act of 2014. The Senate legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee; both Sens. Breaux and Lott are former members.

Breaux Lott’s July report shows Medtronic paid it a hefty $200,000 in lobbying fees for its work during the second quarter of the year, which essentially covers only the month of June. The company has so far reported spending $2.84 million in lobbying fees for the first half of 2014, putting it on track to easily outpace the $5.02 million it spent lobbying during all of 2013. In other words, the company may successfully maneuver to slash its tax bill, but the lobbying bill is sure to rise.

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