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You may have heard that there’s a bit of a campaign going on for the world’s worst job. For whatever reason, the process of electing the leader of our country’s government drags on like Titantic. Right around, erm, now you’re probably ready to gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon every time you see an ad for a candidate or debate. Unfortunately we’re powerless to stop it, thanks t ycle.
ANYWAY, one of the more useful things we learn during this process is where the money comes from and who it goes to. Now, you may be screaming, “Koch Brothers!” or “George Soros!” and while they can afford to throw around some cash, these stories are old hat and are best left to political bomb throwers with jostling jowls.
For our purposes of informing you, dear GC readers, we’ll give you the lowdown on what kind of cash people from the largest accounting firms are throwing around and who they’re throwing it to. Accounting Today has a full report out today based on data available from the Federal Election Commission and here are the highlights:
• Ernst & Young – E&Y donated the most cash, with personnel contributing more than $89,000. 18% went to President Obama, Mitt Romney received 39% and Rick Perry 37%. Personally, I feel like this money would be better spent throwing it at people in Albany.
• Deloitte – Total of $57,490 in donations. Mittens received 41%; Obama 37%.
• PwC – $36,520 total donations. Romney received 51%; Obama 48%.
• KPMG – The one Obama stronghold. The President received 47% of the total $15,000 in donations. Romney received 32%; Perry 17%.
• Grant Thornton – Obama doesn’t win. GT peeps gave $23,050 and 97% went to Mitt Romney.
What about the other candidates? Well, Newt Gingrich received a grand total of zero dollars from anyone at these accounting firms. Ron Paul received less money than Jon Huntsman. Yes, I know you’ve never heard of him. It’s this guy. Google Rick Santorum just for fun. And check out Michelle Bachmann’s manicures. That’s about all you need to know.
So who gets your imaginary contributions? I imagine most of you out there in Internetland have no plans to fork over any of your meager bonuses to a Presidential candidate but IF YOU DID, who would it be? And feel free to discuss your firm’s generosity or political leanings as you see fit.
Eraserhead doppelgänger Tim Geithner has said that tax reform is coming but you shouldn’t really expect things to get started before Labor Day. If we’re lucky For starters, this tax stuff is complicated and secondly, this debt ceiling discussion is all the rage right now:
Geithner said the Obama administration hopes to take up the issue of tax simplification before the presidential election in 2012 but he signaled the issue is on hold for now. “I think realistically this fiscal debate we’re having is going to dominate our preoccupation for the next couple of months,” Geithner said in response to a question after remarks to the Harvard Club in New York.
But don’t worry, since the GOP has made it abundantly clear that raising taxes are off the table, the administration will definitely call attention to their uncooperative attitude well before the election:
Geithner said the administration would like “to take a run at doing this ahead of the election. That means we’ve got to start but we also need to get this fiscal stuff on a better trajectory.”
Obama should focus on winning the electoral votes of Texas. He could highlight his ongoing efforts to destroy the oil and gas industry through taxation and regulation. Also his hostility to the Second Amendment. And spending binges and tax hikes. The small-minded will not see the opportunity for Obama in Texas, but with enough money spent in the state and not frittered away in Virginia and Florida good things can happen for America.
Or a punch of sass.
Barry Salzberg will be the next global CEO of Deloitte, according to a statement released by the firm today. Of course, if you’ve been following our coverage of the controversy around the election process at Deloitte, then you already knew that this was coming. As you know, this election was an all or nothing deal and with Salzberg taking the reigns from Jim Quigley on June 1, Joe Echeverria will be the new U.S. CEO and Punit Renjen will assume the Chairman’s role vacated by Sharon Allen.
The always quote-worthy (at least in the context of a Deloitte press release) Dr. Phil said he was “humbled by the confidence that the network has placed in my leadership during this historic time.” He also had some kind words for predecessor, “Over the years, I have worked closely with Jim Quigley and admired his commitment to our strong global culture and shared values, which have brought us to our preeminent position in the marketplace today.”
So congrats to Mr. Salzberg on the promotion (and surviving the coup d’etat). Feel free to leave your well-wishes or other thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
Last week we shared the Deloitte U.S. Leadership candidates with you but at the time we hadn’t confirmed that the thumbsup/thumbsdown had begun. This week, a source confirmed for us that voting had, in fact, started last week but no one should get too anxious about hearing the results:
The vote continues at least until the Firm achieves a 50% voting rate from all the partners. This is typically a struggle, and many voice messages and e-mails are sent rounding up at least the 50%. This is part of the problem (and a bit pathetic). Nobody believes their voices are heard, so they don’t care to vote. Or, if they vote NO, they fear retribution.
As we reported in January, the retribution of a “No” vote is something that many young partners may fear and you can presuppose that many veteran partners who are a little preoccupied with a little something called “busy season clients” aren’t exactly concerned with casting a vote in an election that is all but decided already. All this adds up to a pretty sad voter turnout, sayeth our source:
Ok – so then, among that paltry 50% voting rate, there needs to be a 2/3 approval for each candidate in order for them to win election. So – if you do the math…we have about 2800 partners. Only 1400 need to vote for a quorum, and only about 940 need to approve each candidate for them to get into office. So perhaps only about 33% of the partners end up approving of the people that run the firm.
Unfortunately – nobody focuses upon this fact. Unbelievable. And now we have a non-CPA being put up for the Chairman’s spot of an accounting firm. It’s insanity, really.
Oh, right; the non-CPA chairman controversy. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Punit Renjen is the CEO of Deloitte Consulting. Mr Renjen has been on the job for just over a year and by all accounts has done an acceptable job and it doesn’t surprise us that he’s up for this position. The fact that he, in all likelihood, will become the next chairman of a Big 4 firm, bothers a lot of CPAs. Despite the bellyaching of those on the audit/tax side of the house, what’s not up for debate is that Deloitte Consulting is the second largest practice, according to the this year’s revenue data. But what’s even more important, consulting is the fastest growing segment, with double digit growth in FY 2010. So if Mr Renjen’s ascension to the chairman position bothers some in a CPA puritanical sense, we can appreciate that. But from a numbers standpoint, it’s probably overdue and is definitely not surprising.
Yet the majority of these CFOs don’t believe that the federal government’s financial policy has had any effect on their business.
So does that mean CFOs are indifferent about which party is in actually in power but more generally speaking, Republicans give them the warm fuzzies while Dems give them the heebie jeebies?
Despite the fact that more than 70 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) at Deloitte’s annual CFO Vision conference earlier this month believe current government financial policy has either had no effect or negatively impacted their business, the tide is turning toward a more positive outlook. A majority (59 percent) of the same group of CFOs expect the recent Congressional midterm elections to have a positive impact on their industry.
Maybe we’re a little slow (especially this week) but Sandy Cockrell (he introduced us to the “bathtub recovery“) attempts to clarify:
“CFOs are confident that they can pull the levers within their own companies to do their jobs, but they are most worried about external issues involving economic recovery and regulations,” said Sanford Cockrell III, national managing partner of Deloitte’s U.S. CFO Program. “The biggest risk they see is a prolonged, stagnant recovery. Industries are also concerned about too much government intervention. If the employment picture does not also improve and if general pessimism continues to rise, we would expect pessimism to start having a larger impact on companies’ earnings and investment expectations.”
Okay so 70% of the CFOs polled “believe current government financial policy has either had no effect or negatively impacted their business,” yet they still fear government intervention? And if what Cockrell is saying rings true with the majority of CFOs polled, the second John Boehner holds the gavel as the new Speaker of the House, the employment picture may slowly begin turn around? Do we have that right? Really, finance chiefs of America? That’s what you’re pinning your hopes on?
Are they all confused or did Deloitte just throw together a poorly designed poll? We’re stumped but if you’ve got the time and energy, we’ll entertain some theories.
You house of worship types are probably used to hearing politically toned sermons coming from your clergy(wo)man but a nonprofit holy house flat out telling its congregation, “Get out there and vote for [candidate soon-to-be caught up in a lurid sex scandal]!” would be venturing into some tricky waters.
Well, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State seems to have caught wind of a church who ventured. The AU claims that the Oasis Church in Los Angeles was openly supporting its Director of Social Justice’s, Alex Jones-Moreno run for reelection to the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood City Council on its website and on Twitter:
“Oasis Church’s appeals might have been innovative, but they still violate the law,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Federal law bars churches and other tax-exempt non-profits from electioneering. The IRS should crack down on these troubling tweets.”
We called the IRS in Los Angeles, who was not aware of the story and we were told the usual yarn of “we can’t comment on individual tax cases,” which we were expecting but the IRS PR folks are always nice people and we like a pleasant voice every now and again.
Anyhoo, we did stumble across the IRS Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, that says the following on page 5 (our bolding):
Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. To qualify for tax-exempt status, such an organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication):
• the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other
• net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder,
• no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation,
• the organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and
• the organization’s purposes and activities may not
be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.
Now whether Tweeting = “intervene” we’re not sure but Americans United certainly seems to think so. We’d invite any tax-exempt experts to weigh in.
A message left at Mr Jones-Moreno’s Oasis office was not immediately returned.