In a congressional hearing Thursday, Continental Resources CEO and Mitt Romney’s chief energy adviser Harold Hamm asked to preserve the oil industry’s billions in tax breaks, although his company pays little in federal taxes. The oil firm has earned more than $1.8 billion profit over five years by dominating the oil shale boom in North Dakota.
In his prepared testimony, Hamm defends tax breaks by pointing to his own company, saying, “Continental’s effective tax rate is 38%!” But according to Citizens for Tax Justice, Continental paid an average 2.2 percent tax rate, or $40 million, over five years.
So if you’re playing along at home, Harold Hamm’s compant has earned $1.8 billion in profit over the past five years but has averaged just 2.2% in federal income taxes, and in one year (2009) Hamm’s company paid only 0.1% in federal income taxes. How much lower does Harold Hamm think his company’s taxes need to be in order to not be “high?”