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This Unpopular Tax Bill is a Handout to Big Donors and Corporations

December 19, 2017 | Adam Smith

Washington, D.C. — The unpopular tax bill Republicans are ramming through Congress this week is our broken, corrupt campaign finance system at its worst, said money-in-politics watchdog Every Voice.

“This bill is nothing more than an early Christmas present to the wealthy donors and corporations who Republicans will now have to rely on to save them from this deeply unpopular bill come reelection season,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice. “President Trump and his allies in Congress are blatantly taking money from hardworking families and putting it in the pockets of big donors who fill their campaign coffers. This is our broken, corrupt campaign finance system at its worst.”

“If we don’t fix our broken political system, this will hardly be the last time politicians in Washington side with big donors over their constituents,” said Donnelly. “Americans are fed up with a government that doesn’t work for them and they deserve a fairer, more just political system in which the voices of everyday people can he heard above those of big campaign donors.”

Republicans themselves have admitted the bill is aimed at appeasing big donors:

  • On November 7th, Rep. Chris Collins—who supports the legislation—said, “My donors are basically saying, ‘get it done or don’t ever call me again.’”
  • On November 9th, Sen. Lindsey Graham—who supports the legislation—said “the financial contributions will stop” if the tax bill doesn’t pass.
  • GOP donor and presidential bundler Dan Eberhart told Mother Jones this week, “I don’t know why donors should give to the NRSC until tax reform is passed.”
  • Steven Law, a former chief of staff to Mitch McConnell and head of Senate Republicans’ main super PAC, said last month, “[Donors] would be mortified if we didn’t live up to what we’ve committed to on tax reform.”
  • Josh Holmes, another former chief of staff to Mitch McConnell, told CNN in October, “The donor class like most of the activist class has concluded that the inaction of this administration and Congress is totally unacceptable and they need to see progress toward legislative goals that were talked about.”
  • In October, after Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare, Iowa donor Bruce Rastetter told Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst—who both plan to vote for the tax bill—that he wouldn’t donate again “unless they pass new legislation or get new leadership.”
  • At a Koch brothers-aligned summit in October, a Republican donor told the LA Times, “Absolutely, they’ll give less money,” if tax reform failed. Just yesterday, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity endorsed the legislation.
  • Politico reported a donor sent a GOP fundraiser a note that read, “The GOP leaders should know, no movement on remaining agenda: tax reform, infrastructure, deregulation, etc. means no funding from supporters like me.”

Voters are taking these Republicans’ word for it too. Over the past few weeks, Every Voice has collected over 100 letters to the editor—in red and blue states, from Massachusetts to Oklahoma—specifically tying Republican support for the tax bill to pressure from big donors.

Every Voice and Every Voice Center have recently come under new leadership. We will be expanding and diversifying our efforts to promote a democracy that works for all of us and responds to the voices of everyday people. Watch this space for specifics later in 2019.