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Presidential Candidates Criticize Pfizer Merger

Presidential candidates from both parties criticized pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's merger with Allergen, a smaller Ireland-based firm. The candidates claim Pfizer's goal is to move its headquarters to Ireland on paper where it will pay a lower tax rate without changing its US business activities. This practice is known as a "corporate inversion."
Presidential candidates from both parties criticized pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's merger with Allergen, a smaller Ireland-based firm. The candidates claim Pfizer's goal is to move its headquarters to Ireland on paper where it will pay a lower tax rate without changing its US business activities. This practice is known as a "corporate inversion."

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders criticized Pfizer's move.

"Corporate tax avoidance is a theft from the poor and vulnerable," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA Network. ‎"When corporations do business in the US and don't pay taxes for the roads and bridges they depend on, the bill gets passed to the rest of us."

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates inversions will cost the US government $19.5 billion over the next decade.

Pfizer is the latest in a series of companies to invert, including Medtronic and Burger King. Pfizer unsuccessfully attempted to invert in 2014 by merging with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The US Treasury passed rules in early November to limit inversions but Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says Congressional action is necessary to stop the practice completely. Senior Republican Senator Orrin Hatch criticized the Pfizer merger and called for immediate action against inversions. Pfizer's announcement led lawmakers to additionally call for comprehensive tax reform.

"There's broad consensus that Congress needs to stop inversions‎," said LeCompte. "It's rare you see Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders on the same side of an issue."