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Clinton's Off Message Man

- December 15, 2015

Clinton Has No Problem Dropping Her Principles To Bring In Warren Buffett's Campaign Cash


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Today, Warren Buffett will host a fundraiser for Clinton in Omaha, NE before she attends a public rally.
  • Buffett has a history of supporting companies that have used corporate tax inversions, a practice Clinton has decried as an "gaming the tax system."
  • While Clinton was promising Haitians a brighter future, a Buffett-owned company supplied them with poorly made trailers containing carcinogens.
  • Clinton currently supports net metering, a practice where energy consumers are able to sell excess solar energy back to utility companies, but Buffett's utility company in Nevada has come out as a major opponent of the practice.
  • Clinton supports plans for the requirement of carbon emission reduction goals for states, while Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has continuously voted against implementing similar goals for itself.

Warren Buffett Will Host A Fundraiser For Hillary Clinton Followed By A Campaign Rally This Morning In Omaha, NE. "Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffett are set to have a busy morning Wednesday in Omaha, according to details released today about the Democratic presidential candidate's visit to Nebraska. Clinton and Buffett, the famed Omaha investor, will host a private fundraiser for her campaign at 9 a.m., with a public rally set to follow at Sokol Auditorium at 11:15 a.m." (Robynn Tysver, "Hillary Clinton's Omaha Stop Includes Private Fundraiser, Public Rally With Warren Buffett," Omaha World Herald , 12/12/15)

CLINTON WILL HAVE TO HOLD HER NOSE AT BUFFETT'S SUPPORT FOR COMPANIES THAT HAVE GONE THROUGH CORPORATE TAX INVERSIONS

Clinton Has Said Tax Inversions Are "Gaming The Tax System," And Has Called The Pfizer Inversion An Egregious Example Of An Abuse Of The Tax Code. CLINTON: "We have to crack down on the abuses in the tax code, we have to close those loopholes, end those deductions, we need to keep the focus on where it needs to be, starting and building companies, and getting jobs here for Americans, not providing incentives for folks to take them overseas. And there is an egregious example of that right now, Pfizer, the huge drug company, well they're buying a foreign pharmaceutical company that happens to be based in Ireland, and they are doing it, and they are pretty honest about it, they are doing it to save money on taxes, it's called an 'inversion.' Well, I want the Treasury Department to everything it can to stop that kind of behavior and call it for what it is, gaming the tax system." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks, Boulder Colorado, 11/24/15)

Click To Watch

Clinton Can Decry Inversions But Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Has Multiple Business Investments In Companies That Have Used Corporate Tax Inversions

Berkshire Hathaway Invested $3 Billion To Help Burger King Complete A Corporate Tax Inversion By Buying The Canadian Chain Tim Horton. "Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Thursday again defended Burger King's purchase of Canadian chain Tim Hortons, a deal criticized by many as an inversion plan by the fast food company to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate where Buffett serves as president and CEO, invested $3 billion to help finance the deal. Appearing on MSNBC, Buffett insisted that the purchase was not a tax dodge. Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate where Buffett serves as president and CEO, invested $3 billion to help finance the deal." (Jonathan Topaz, "Buffett Stands By Burger King Deal," Politico, 9/18/14)

  • Buffett Admitted That "It Is A Corporate Inversion And Many Corporate Inversions Are Tax Driven." "Appearing on MSNBC, Buffett insisted that the purchase was not a tax dodge. 'It is a corporate inversion and many corporate inversions are tax driven,' he conceded. But Buffett insisted that the more than $11 billion Burger King paid for Tim Hortons significantly outweighed any tax relief the company will receive by relocating to Canada." (Jonathan Topaz, "Buffett Stands By Burger King Deal," Politico, 9/18/14)

Warren Buffett's Company, Berkshire Hathaway, Was The Largest Shareholder Of Chicago Bridge And Iron In 2014. " The slump was rare for a stock selected by one of Chairman Warren Buffett's deputies at Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire. The backup portfolio managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, beat the market and their boss's picks in 2012 and 2013. Adding to the CB&I bet follows a strategy that Buffett has used for decades: identifying companies based on long-term prospects and sticking with them through declines … Berkshire is CB&I's largest shareholder with a stake that climbed to 9.9 percent by June 30. The holding was valued at about $730 million that day, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week that didn't say when the stock was bought or what price was paid." (Noah Buhayar, "Berkshire Defies Short Seller By Adding To CB&I Stake," Bloomberg Business , 8/21/14)

  • Chicago Bridge And Iron Expatriated It's Corporate Headquarters To The Hague, Netherlands . "When I was a boy growing up in Illinois, Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. was a local company. Today Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI -1.85%) is a multinational corporation headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands. The engineering and construction company is just one of numerous U.S. firms to move their headquarters abroad, either through relocation or by being nominally bought by a smaller foreign company." (John Dorfman, "The Right Way To Stop Corporate 'Inversions,'" Time, 8/8/14)

Berkshire Hathaway Also Has A Stake In Liberty Global. "Share on Facebook Berkshire Hathaway Inc. disclosed a stake in billionaire John Malone's Liberty Global Plc valued at about $246 million as Warren Buffett's backup stock pickers shuffle their bets on pay-TV providers. Berkshire held 2.95 million shares of Liberty Global on Dec. 31, Buffett's Omaha, Nebraska-based company said yesterday in a regulatory filing. Malone's London-based firm slipped 0.6 percent to $83.60 in New York before the stake was disclosed." (Noah Buhayar, "Berkshire Discloses $246 Million Stake In Liberty Global," Bloomberg Business , 2/15/14)

  • In 2013, Liberty Global Used Expatriated It's Colorado Headquarters, Following It's Acquisition Of Virgin Media. " Critics have decried Burger King's plan to combine with Tim Hortons and relocate its headquarters to Canada from the U.S. as an unpatriotic tax dodge. But last year, Liberty Global, one of Colorado's largest public companies, made a similar maneuver following its $23 billion acquisition of Virgin Media, a deal twice as large as the one being derided." (Aldo Svaldi, "Liberty Global, A Colorado Company, Did Tax Inversion Last Year," The Denver Post, 8/29/14)

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Has A Stake In Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. "Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to buy an 8.7% stake in Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. from Carlyle Group LP, which locks in a return of more than double the cash that Carlyle invested in the auto-paint maker. Through the $560 million sale to Berkshire, a large offering of shares last week and a November initial public offering, Carlyle has pocketed about $2.9 billion selling Axalta stock while retaining a roughly 46% stake in the company." (Ryan Dezember, "Berkshire Hathaway To Buy 8.7% Stake In Axalta Coating From Carlyle,"The Wall Street Journal , 4/7/15)

  • Axalta Changed Its Incorporation From Philadelphia, PA, To Bermuda. " Last week, Carlyle Group LP, the Washington-based buyout firm, took steps to sell shares in Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. to the public. Axalta, incorporated in Bermuda and run from Philadelphia, is a former auto-paint division of DuPont Co. that Carlyle bought for $4.9 billion in 2013. Randall Whitestone, a Carlyle spokesman, had no immediate comment." (Zachary Mider, "Tax Dodge Used By Bain Escapes Scrutiny On Inversions,"Bloomberg Business, 9/25/14)

CLINTON PROMISED TO BRING HAITI BACK BETTER THAN BEFORE, BUT BUFFET SUPPLIED HAITIANS WITH CANCER-TRAILERS WELL KNOWN FOR BEING HAZARDOUS

In 2010, Clinton Vowed The U.S. "Will Be Here Today, Tomorrow, And For The Time Ahead," And That Haiti "Can Come Back Even Stronger And Better In The Future." HILLARY CLINTON: "I want to speak directly to the Haitian people through the Haitian media. We are here at the invitation of your government to help you. As President Obama has said, we will be here today, tomorrow, and for the time ahead. And speaking personally, I know of the great resilience and strength of the Haitian people. You have been severely tested. But I believe that Haiti can come back even stronger and better in the future." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, 1/16/10)

Click To Watch

A Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Owned Company Supplied Trailers For Haitians That Gave "Painful Headaches," A "Burning Sensation" In The Eyes, And "Worrying Levels" Of Carcinogens

Part Of The Clinton Foundation's Response To The Haitian Earthquake Consisted Of "Twenty Imported Prefab Trailers Beset By A Host Of Problems, From Mold To Sweltering Heat To Shoddy Construction." "However, when Nation reporters visited the 'hurricane-proof' shelters in June, six to eight months after they'd been installed, we found them to consist of twenty imported prefab trailers beset by a host of problems, from mold to sweltering heat to shoddy construction." (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation, 7/11/11)

The Trailers Were Manufactured By Clayton Homes, The Same Company "Being Sued In The United States For Providing" FEMA With "Formaldehyde-Laced Trailers In The Wake Of Hurricane Katrina." " Most disturbing, they were manufactured by the same company, Clayton Homes, that is being sued in the United States for providing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with formaldehyde-laced trailers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina." (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation, 7/11/11)

  • Clayton Homes, Who Provided The Trailers, Was Owned By Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. " Clayton Homes is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company run by Warren Buffett, one of the 'notable' private-sector members of the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the initiative's website." (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation, 7/11/11)

An Investigation Of The Trailers Placed In Haiti By Clayton Homes Found Some Contained "Worrying Levels" Of The Carcinogen Known As Formaldehyde. "Most disturbing, they were manufactured by the same company, Clayton Homes, that is being sued in the United States for providing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with formaldehyde-laced trailers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Air samples collected from twelve Haiti trailers detected worrying levels of this carcinogen in one, according to laboratory results obtained as part of a joint investigation by The Nation and The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund." (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation, 7/11/11)

  • The Lab Tests Concluded That Some Of The Clinton Foundation Trailers Contained "Two And A Half Times" The Level Of Carcinogen At Which The CDC Warns Of Adverse Health Effects. Lab tests conducted as part of our investigation in Haiti discovered levels of the carcinogen in the sixth-grade Clinton Foundation classroom in Léogâne at 250 parts per billion-two and a half times the level at which the CDC warned FEMA trailer residents that sensitive people, such as children, could face adverse health effects." (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation, 7/11/11)

In An Interview With Students Using The Clinton Foundation Classrooms, The Nation Found Students "Regularly Suffer From Painful Headaches." "As Judith Seide, a student in Lubert's sixth-grade class, explained to The Nation, she and her classmates regularly suffer from painful headaches in their new Clinton Foundation classroom. Every day, she said, her 'head hurts and I feel it spinning and have to stop moving, otherwise I'd fall.' Her vision goes dark, as is the case with her classmate Judel, who sometimes can't open his eyes because, said Seide, 'he's allergic to the heat.'" (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation , 7/11/11)

  • Other Exposed To The Clinton Foundation Trailers Complained Of Feeling A "Burning Sensation" In Their Eyes. "Innocent Sylvain, a shy janitor who looks much older than his 41 years, spends more time than anyone in the new trailer classrooms, with the inglorious task of mopping up the water that leaks through the doors and windows each time it rains. He has felt a burning sensation in his eyes ever since he began working long hours in the trailers. One of his eyes is completely bloodshot, and he said, 'They itch and burn.'" (Isabel Macdonald and Isabeau Doucet, "The Shelters That Clinton Built," The Nation, 7/11/11)

CLINTON HAS CRITICIZED UTILITIES, SIMILAR TO THE ONE OWNED BY BUFFETT 'S BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY, THAT OPPOSE CONSUMERS USING SOLAR ENERGY TO SELL BACK TO THE GRID

Clinton Has Expressed Support For Consumers Using Roof Top Solar Panels To Sell Back Excess Energy To Utility Companies On The Campaign Trail, Chiding "Utilities That Resist The Practice." "Hillary Clinton has expressed support for net metering, which allows homeowners who install rooftop solar panels to sell their excess electricity to the power company. In New Hampshire last month, she criticized utilities that resist the practice." (Steve Tetreault, "GOP Dares Hillary To Talk Net Metering In Las Vegas," The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/15/15)

  • Clinton Has Come Out Against Utilities That Prevent Consumers From Selling Energy Back To The Grid. CLINTON: "I will tell you that we have to address it. There's lots of things we need to do to address it. Number one we've got to prevent backsliding, that's why I said watch out for utilities that want to stop clean renewable energy, and enabling customers to sell back to the grid because they want to prevent the transition." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At A Town Hall, Dover, NH, 7/16/15)

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Has Opposed Consumers Selling Electricity Back To Utilities In Nevada, Where He Owns The Dominant Utility Company

Warren Buffett's Renewable Energy Company, NV Energy, Has Fought Against Proposals Increasing The Amount Of Electricity Nevada Consumers Can Sell Back To The Grid Through Solar Panels. "Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power. Berkshire's NV Energy, the state's dominant utility, opposes the proposal to increase a cap on the amount of energy that can be generated with solar panels by residents who sell power back to the grid in a practice known as net metering." (Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar, And Margaret Newkirk, "Warren Buffett Is Sending Mixed Messages on Green Energy," Bloomberg, 5/18/15)

  • NV Energy Is Nevada's Dominant Utility Company. " Berkshire's NV Energy, the state's dominant utility, opposes the proposal to increase a cap on the amount of energy that can be generated with solar panels by residents who sell power back to the grid in a practice known as net metering." (Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar, And Margaret Newkirk, "Warren Buffett Is Sending Mixed Messages on Green Energy," Bloomberg, 5/18/15)

Buffett's NV Energy Has Been Accused Of Trying To Maintain Its Monopoly In Nevada By Preventing Incentives For Consumers To Install Rooftop Solar Arrays. "Nevada's burgeoning solar industry on Wednesday accused NV Energy of trying to maintain its power monopoly by stifling a program that lets customers with rooftop solar arrays get credit for producing extra electricity." (Laura Myers And Sean Whaley, "Advocates Accuse State, NV Energy Of Anti-Solar Bias," Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/15/15)

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Has Spent "An Enormous Amount" On Ads And Lobbying To Stop Rooftop Solar. "The stakes are high in Nevada, said Bryan Miller, co-chairman at The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC). He sees solar's chief opponent in Nevada not as NV Energy, but Warren Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, which he says has spent 'an enormous amount' on ads and lobbying against rooftop solar." (Reem Nasr, "Ground Zero In Solar Wars: Nevada," CNBC, 5/26/15)

CLINTON HAS REPEATEDLY SUPPORTED CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION GOALS, BUT BUFFETT'S BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HAS REFUSED TO IMPLEMENT THEM

Clinton Has Called For Countries To Put Forward "Commitments To Curb Their Own Greenhouse Gas Emissions." "I believe they must be guided by three principles. First, all countries must take responsibility for combating this global crisis, and put forward commitments to curb their own greenhouse gas emissions. Second, the agreement should galvanize financial assistance for, and spur private investment in, developing countries to help them adapt and achieve sustainable economic growth. And finally, it must be an agreement that can be strengthened over time. Countries should agree to come together regularly to raise their collective ambition." (Hillary Clinton, Op-Ed, "Hillary Clinton: America Must Lead At Paris Climate Talks," Time Magazine, 11/29/15)

Clinton Has Vowed To "Defend" Obama's Clean Power Plan, Which Requires States To Set Carbon Emission Reduction Goals. "The Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan is a significant step forward in meeting the urgent threat of climate change. It sets a smart federal standard that gives states the flexibility to choose how to reduce carbon pollution most effectively. And it drives investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, reduces asthma attacks and premature deaths, and promotes a healthier environment and a stronger economy. It's a good plan, and as President, I'd defend it." (Press Release, "Statement From Hillary Clinton On President Obama's Clean Power Plan," Hillary For America, 8/2/15)

  • Clinton Called The Plan "The Floor, Not The Ceiling" And Plans To Use Executive Orders If Congress Tries To Block Her Renewable Energy Proposals. "The new plan sets a goal of cutting carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. It would reward states and utility companies that move quickly to expand their investment in solar and wind power. Clinton called the plan 'the floor, not the ceiling,' and said she would go further. Her plan contemplates using executive orders if Congress tried to block her proposals." (Anne Gearan, "Hillary Clinton Promises To Build On Obama Climate Plan As Industry And Environmental Groups Weigh In," The Washington Post , 8/2/15)

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Has Not Adopted Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Goals, Failing To Adopt Resolutions Year After Year

Buffett's Holding Company, Berkshire Hathaway, Has Voted Down Resolutions Requiring Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Reductions Goals Four Times, With Buffett Opposing It Each Time. "The next chance for Buffett to make his views on climate change clearer will come at Berkshire's annual meeting May 2, when a shareholder resolution will call on Berkshire to set goals for greenhouse-gas emission reductions. The resolution has failed four times before, with Buffett and his company's management opposing it." (Tim Mullaney, "Warren Buffett On Climate Change: Friend Or Foe?" CNBC, 3/19/15)

  • On The Last Effort "The Measure Received Only 8 Percent Of The Shareholder Vote." "On the last try, the measure received only 8 percent of the shareholder vote, less than earlier efforts to pass the resolution garnered from Berkshire shareholders. Notably, other utilities-including American Electric Power, Consolidated Edison, Duke Energy, Entergy and Exelon-have approved similar plans, Berridge said." (Tim Mullaney, "Warren Buffett On Climate Change: Friend Or Foe?" CNBC, 3/19/15)

In 2011, Only 10.1 Percent Of Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Voted In Favor Of A Resolution That Would Have Required Berkshire To "Establish Quantitative Goals For The Reduction Of Greenhouse Gas And Other Air Emissions At Its Energy-Generating Holdings." "Shareholders request that Berkshire - in response to strict new EPA regulations - establish quantitative goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas and other air emissions at its energy-generating holdings; and that Berkshire publish a report to shareholders by September 30, 2011 (at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information) on how it will achieve these goals - including plans to retrofit or retire existing coal-burning plants at Berkshire- held companies." ("Berkshire Hathaway Greenhouse Gas Reduction 2011," Ceres, Accessed 12/14/15)

In 2013, Only 8.8 Percent Of Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Voted In Favor Of A Resolution That Required "Berkshire Hathaway Establish Reasonable, Quantitative Goals For Reduction Of Greenhouse Gas And Other Air Emissions At Its Energy-Generating Holdings." "That Berkshire Hathaway establish reasonable, quantitative goals for reduction of greenhouse gas and other air emissions at its energy-generating holdings; and that Berkshire publish a report to shareholders by September 30, 2013 (at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information) on how it will achieve these goals - including plans to retrofit or retire existing coal burning plants at Berkshire-held companies." ("Berkshire Hathaway GHG 2013," Ceres, Accessed 12/14/15)

In 2014, Only 8.1 Percent Of Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Voted In Favor Of A Resolution That Required Berkshire Hathaway To "Establish Reasonable, Quantitative Goals For Reduction Of Greenhouse Gas And Other Air Emissions At Its Energy-Generating Holdings." "That Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ('Berkshire') establish reasonable, quantitative goals for reduction of greenhouse gas and other air emissions at its energy-generating holdings; and that Berkshire publish a report to shareholders by January 31, 2015 (at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information) on how it will achieve these goals - including possible plans to retrofit or retire existing coal-burning plants at Berkshire-held companies." ("Berkshire Energy GHG Reduction Goals," Ceres, Accessed 12/14/15)

In 2015, A Resolution To Require Berkshire Hathaway To "Establish Reasonable, Quantitative Goals For Reduction Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions At Its Energy-Generating Holdings," Was Withdrawn Due To Rules Requiring Resolutions To Have Enough Support To Refile. "That Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. ("Berkshire") establish reasonable, quantitative goals for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at its energy-generating holdings; and publish a report to shareholders by January 31, 2016 (at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information) on how it will achieve these goals - including possible plans to retrofit or retire existing coal-burning plants at Berkshire-held companies." ("Berkshire Hathaway GHG Goals 2015," Ceres, Accessed 12/14/15)


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