Non-profit

Americans for Tax Fairness

Website:

americansfortaxfairness.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Type:

Left-Wing Tax Reform Advocacy Organization

Project of:

New Venture Fund

Americans for Tax Fairness is a project of the New Venture Fund that advocates for left-of-center tax policies. The organization purports to be a coalition comprised of 400 organizations. Americans for Tax Fairness advocates for higher tax rates for individuals, increased corporate taxes, and the repeal of tax breaks introduced by the George W. Bush administration and the Trump administration. [1]

Background

Americans for Tax Fairness describes itself as a campaign of more than 420 organizations that support liberal-left tax policy including higher tax rates and fewer tax exemptions for individuals and businesses. [2]

Americans for Tax Fairness is related to the Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund, a political advocacy organization. The Action Fund is sponsored by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which functions as a major funder for left-of-center advocacy and lobbying organizations, while Americans for Tax Fairness is a project of the New Venture Fund. [3] Both New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund exist under the umbrella of the Arabella Advisors network of liberal “dark money.” [4]

Funding

Americans for Tax Fairness is a fiscally-sponsored project of the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit managed by the left-of-center, for-profit consultancy Arabella Advisors. As such, Americans for Tax Fairness does not file its own taxes, and donations to the project are collected and reported by the New Venture Fund. In 2017, the Tides Foundation donated $25,000 to the New Venture Fund in support of Americans for Tax Fairness. [5]

Policies and Advocacy

Americans for Tax Fairness advocates for a range of left-of-center economic policies, including increasing taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses. [6]  The organization also supports increased government spending on education, infrastructure, and social programs. [7]

Americans for Tax Fairness has a history of attacking conservative tax policies. In 2017, the organization criticized the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which reduced tax rates for most Americans and closed a number of tax loopholes. Americans for Tax Fairness issued a report which claimed that only 4.3 percent of workers were expected to get a one-time bonus from the new law. [8] In 2018, Americans for Tax Fairness continued its attack on the legislation, launching the website “Trump Tax Cut Truths.” The site provides a searchable database on the size of each corporation’s tax cuts that resulted from the 2017 law. [9]

Aside from criticizing right-of-center fiscal policy, Americans for Tax Policy has taken several stances in opposition to business activity more broadly. Americans for Tax Policy has criticized corporations in the wake of the 2017 tax cuts, alleging that corporations are spending 37 times more on stock buybacks than on wage increases or bonuses. The organization has also argued that more than 400 of the Fortune 500 companies did not announce bonuses or wage increases as a result of the tax breaks. [10]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans for Tax Fairness and the left-wing Institute for Policy Studies issued an analysis which claimed that the net worth of American billionaires had increased by $931 billion between March and October of 2020;[11] observers criticized the analysis for comparing stock holdings at the market’s first-lockdown trough with its reopening peak. [12]

Leadership

The leaders of Americans for Tax Policy have close connections to the left-of-center organizing community. Lawrence Mishel is one of three co-chairs of Americans for Tax Fairness. Mishel has worked as president of the left-of-center labor-union-aligned Economic Policy Institute since 2002. He has also co-authored 12 editions of The State of Working America, a book on the economic conditions of working-class Americans that has been praised by controversial left-of-center economist and Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich. [13]

Edwin Jayne is another co-chair of Americans for Tax Fairness. Jayne is associated with left-of-center labor organizing, working as the associate director of federal government affairs for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). [14]

Margarida Jorge is yet another co-chair of the organization. Jorge has worked on left-of-center issue campaigns for two decades, working as national field director at Health Care for America Now. [15]

Frank Clemente became the executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness in 2012. Clemente previously worked as campaign manager for the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. He also managed a campaign for the Communications Workers of America in support of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Clemente was a senior policy advisor to the U.S. House Committee on Government Operations and previously worked as the issues director for left-wing activist Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign. [16]

Andrea Haverdink is Americans for Tax Fairness’s digital director. Haverdink previously worked as an associate producer for Mike Lux Media, a firm associated with Democracy Partners. [17]

Mark Rickling is the policy and legislative director for Americans for Tax Fairness. Prior to joining the organization, Rickling worked with left-of-center labor unions including United Food and Commercial Workers and the Service Employees International Union. [18] Craig Johnson, senior digital strategy director of Americans for Tax Fairness, has also worked in labor organizing, previously working with the Alliance for Retired Americans. [19]

Arianna Fano is a research and policy associate with Americans for Tax Fairness. She previously worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-of-center policy think tank. [20]

References

  1. Jagoda, Naomi. “Liberal Group Launches Database to Track Corporations’ Response to Tax Law.” The Hill. April 9, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/382306-liberal-group-launches-database-to-track-corporations-response-to-tax-law ^
  2. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  3. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  4. Hayden R. Ludwig. “Big Money in Dark Shadows: Arabella Advisors’ Half-billion-dollar ‘Dark Money’ Network.” Capital Research Center (DarkMoneyATM.org). https://darkmoneyatm.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/CRC_Arabella-Advisors-Dark-Money_small.pdf ^
  5. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Tides Foundation. 2017. Schedule I. ^
  6. Americans for Tax Fairness. Act Local. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://www.actlocal.network/organizations/americans-for-tax-fairness ^
  7. Principles. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/principles/ ^
  8. Walker, James. “What Donald Trump Has Accomplished as President.” Newsweek. October 22, 2020. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://www.newsweek.com/what-donald-trump-accomplished-president-1541363 ^
  9. Jagoda, Naomi. “Liberal Group Launches Database to Track Corporations’ Response to Tax Law.” The Hill. April 9, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/382306-liberal-group-launches-database-to-track-corporations-response-to-tax-law ^
  10. Jagoda, Naomi. “Liberal Group Launches Database to Track Corporations’ Response to Tax Law.” The Hill. April 9, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/382306-liberal-group-launches-database-to-track-corporations-response-to-tax-law ^
  11. Crump, James. “America’s Richest Gain Almost $1 Trillion During Pandemic.” The Independent. October 22, 2020. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/billionaires-one-trillion-coronavirus-pandemic-jeff-bezos-eight-million-poverty-b1206778.html ^
  12. Riedl, Brian. “No, the Pandemic Has Not Surged Billionaire Wealth,” September 3, 2020. https://www.manhattan-institute.org/no-the-pandemic-has-not-surged-billionaire-wealth. ^
  13. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  14. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  15. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  16. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  17. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  18. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  19. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
  20. About. Americans for Tax Fairness. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/about/ ^
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Americans for Tax Fairness

1101 17th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036