One of Bill Clinton’s “favorite companies,” the former president said in North Carolina on Monday, is Johnson Controls, the same auto supplier that Hillary Clinton has slammed repeatedly on the campaign trail and in TV ads.
“It’s a clean energy company that worked with our foundation to retrofit the Empire State Building, we cut the electric us in that old building by 40 percent, created 275 full-time jobs for two and a half years doing it,” Clinton said of the Wisconsin-based company during a speech in Greenville.
But while the former president praised Johnson Controls, which has given at least $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative, it has become a major target of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The Democratic front-runner has accused the company of attempting to carry out what’s called a tax inversion by merging with Tyco moving its headquarters to Northern Ireland. The move will drastically reduce its tax burden.
In a debate earlier this month, Clinton criticized the move and asserted that Johnson Controls had received funds from the 2008 bailout of the auto industry.
“And now they want to move headquarters to Europe,” she said.
And in an ad that aired last month, Clinton called Johnson Controls’ move “an outrage.”
“If I’m president, when companies walk out on America, they’ll pay a price,” she said.
Bill Clinton did offer some criticism of his “favorite” company.
“But then as soon as they got well they got under the influence of these activist shareholders who made them pretend to sell themselves to a company in Northern Ireland where they could pay a third of the tax,” he said.
“I think if we help somebody and they bolt on us, they should pay an exit fee. That’s what Hillary wants them to do. And then we should spend that money to entice other people who want to come back home.”
A spokesman for Johnson Controls referred The Daily Caller to a statement recently by company chairman and CEO Alex Molinaroli denying that Johnson Controls ever sought or received funds from the auto bailout.