When Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was at the helm of Hewlett-Packard, she oversaw HP's lobbying of the U.S. government for a temporary tax holiday on corporate profits so it could use the money to create new jobs. Much of that money, however, was used to buy back HP stock while then-CEO Fiorina fired 14,500 employees, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.
HP was at the forefront of the lobbying effort for the Homeland Investment Act of 2004, a law designed to generate economic growth and jobs by giving international companies a one-time tax break on money made and stored abroad. Rather than taxing profits at 35 percent, the tax holiday reduced the rate to 5.25 percent. Companies ended up bringing back some $299 billion from foreign subsidiaries, which was supposed to go toward job-creating efforts like research and development, according to The New York Times.
HP saved more than $4.3 billion thanks to the law, which specifically prohibited companies from repurchasing shares of stock. But that didn't stop Fiorina from putting more than $4 billion into stock buybacks, according to The Daily Beast's Michael Daly, who explains that companies often use stock buybacks "as a way of funneling cash to stockholders, these prominently including CEOs."
Even though the law HP lobbied for and made billions from was meant to put more Americans back to work, Fiorina then decided to lay off 14,500 workers, as the LA Times reported.
"The biggest winners were Pfizer, which brought back $37 billion while eliminating 10,000 jobs, and Merck, which brought back $15.9 billion while eliminating 7,000 jobs," wrote Daly.
HP came in third in terms of the amount of money repatriated, bringing home some $14.5 billion.
Last week, Bloomberg revealed that Fiorina - who has remained a staunch opponent of Iran on the presidential campaign trail, often calling for maintaining the crippling economic sanctions and criticizing President Obama's Iran nuclear deal - also oversaw HP's selling of more than $120 million worth of computer products to Iran through a foreign subsidiary, despite U.S. export sanctions prohibiting such deals, as HNGN reported.