Telecom giant Comcast (Xfinity) secretly fired 500 workers while it was lobbying for the passage of Republicans’ corporate tax cut.
The Philadelphia Inquirer — the hometown newspaper of the city that houses Comcast’s headquarters — reported on the firings on Thursday, which only recently came to light by way of Comcast documents obtained by the paper and a fired Comcast worker. The worker remained anonymous in their interview with the paper, saying they were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to receive their severance package.
Comcast centered its firings on sales representatives and managers of its Central region, which includes several Midwestern and Southeastern states, saying the workers would be let go due to the company restructuring its direct sales division in order to cover bigger swaths of cities. The 500 workers were fired on December 15, just before President Trump signed the tax bill into law.
The Philadelphia-based company was one of the four loudest voices lobbying for a new corporate tax cut in 2017, according to Vox. Lobbying data published by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that Comcast spent more than $10 million on lobbying Congress in 2017 alone. The company got its wish, as the new tax bill cuts the U.S. corporate tax rate to just 21 percent.
“The world’s largest cable company, which owns NBCUniversal, is the most active lobbyist on tax issues this year,” wrote Vox’s“The company’s own lobbyists and hired guns filed an astonishing 60 lobbying activity reports related to taxes so far this year.”
Shortly after the tax bill’s passage, Comcast launched a PR stunt announcing that employees would be receiving $1000 bonuses, attributing the bonuses to the new corporate tax cut. However, senior policy analyst Zach Moller, of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the bonuses were likely paid out in order to lower Comcast’s tax liabilities for 2017, since they were given out before the end of the 2017 calendar year.
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.