By Ben Kamisar
Clinton: Use patents as 'leverage' so companies don't avoid taxes
Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonObama reads mean tweet from Trump on ‘Kimmel’ 5 takeaways from the Pa. Senate debate Report: Clinton ordered operative to troll Trump with duck MORE signaled a willingness to hold as "leverage" the patents of American companies keeping assets overseas until they bring the income back into America to pay taxes on it.
The policy hadn't been a part of Clinton's plans to increase pressure on companies keeping assets overseas or on corporate inversions--business deals where U.S. companies merge with another foreign company and reestablish overseas to avoid paying American taxes.
But when prompted by a question from an audience member in Sioux City, Iowa, on Tuesday afternoon, she told supporters that she'd do just that when prompted by a question from the audience.
"We have major corporations int his country--GE, Apple, many others--that are salting money away offshore. Can't we use their patents as leverage to make them pay their taxes?" an attendee asked Clinton.
"Yes, we can and we will," Clinton responded.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond as to what using "patents as leverage" would entail.
"American companies have, I think, a couple trillion dollars stashed overseas. Technically it's on their books but they park it somewhere, that they don't want to pay their taxes," she told the Iowa audience.
"I think we've got to reform our whole tax code because the way it's working now, it is driving companies away, it's driving companies to engage in these gimmicky tax games that they are playing"
Clinton has been a vocal opponent of inversions — a type of transaction where an American corporation lowers its tax burden by merging with a foreign company and then reincorporating in a foreign country —during her campaign. On Tuesday, she repeated her calls to change tax laws to stop businesses from taking advantage of certain loopholes in the tax code.
While laying out her plan to halt inversions in December, she floated executive action as a way to crack down on companies shifting profits to countries with lower tax rates.