Friday, 24 June 2016

GOP Leaders Pushing Obama's Global Taxation Schemes

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Faced with continued opposition from liberty-minded U.S. senators against a White House-backed global tax regime that shreds what remains of financial privacy, establishment Republican leaders in Congress are working overtime to get Obama's schemes approved. Obama himself has been on the warpath, too, blasting Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) last month for his “quirky” opposition to obliterating the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections for privacy rights. When that failed, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) joined the fray, sending a factually challenged letter to fellow lawmakers urging them to help get Obama's schemes approved as quickly as possible.

At the center of the controversy are various policy efforts that would rip up what remains of financial privacy while laying the foundation for a global taxation regime in which private information is automatically shared among governments and dictators. Underpinning it all is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), an obscure U.S. statute hidden in a 2010 Democrat “jobs” bill that basically tries to turn every bank and government in the world into an unpaid agent of Uncle Sam and the IRS. Under the measure, every bank on Earth is expected to spy on all of its American clients and surrender the information to Washington.

In return, the Obama administration has been signing illegal pseudo-treaties with foreign powers to gather information domestically to share with them. However, the unconstitutional and illegal deals, known as “Intergovernmental Agreements,” were not part of the FATCA legislation and are not authorized anywhere. If the Senate approves the schemes, though, experts say Congress would be granting Obama “ex post facto” authority for the unlawful and dangerous actions by the administration, pursued in the interest of advancing FATCA itself. The statute has been blasted as potentially one of the worst tax laws ever approved in the United States.

In addition to FATCA, the White House and its establishment Republican allies are working to ram the “Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters” through the U.S. Senate. The controversial measure, which would help build a global tax-information regime sometimes known as GATCA (the Global Account Tax Compliance Act), represents another brazen assault on the Fourth Amendment and common sense. It also lays the foundation for future tax increases and for a global taxation regime that is being loudly demanded by the United Nations, high-ranking German officials, and other globalist organizations and individuals.  

Unfortunately for Obama and internationalist extremists, though, Senator Paul and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) are standing in the way of the machinations by blocking the necessary treaties — at least until the constitutional abuses are fixed.   

In a piece posted at Conservative Review, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy advisor to the Senate GOP leadership Jim Jatras, a leading opponent of FATCA, blew the whistle on the scheming by GOP leaders. “Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are trying to shoehorn the United States into a global financial reporting scheme that would trash American sovereignty, suck money out of the U.S. economy, and violate constitutional principles, such as respecting the Senate’s advice and consent to treaties and requiring warrants for searches of personal data,” explained Jatras, who edits RepealFATCA.com. “Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the Senate is lining up to help Obama and Lew do it.”

Instead of standing with the anti-FATCA Republican Party's platform or trying to fix the constitutional problems with a series of tax treaties pushed by the administration, Senator Corker (shown), who chairs the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, is working to promote the schemes. In an effort to undermine the “hold” placed on a series of Obama-backed treaties by Senators Lee and Paul, Corker began circulating a letter among U.S. lawmakers dismissing the concerns and touting the treaties. Among other elements, the letter claims the tax treaties would reduce tax burdens on certain U.S. companies while also conforming to constitutional requirements. Jatras said the controversial letter was “clearly drafted by Lew’s Treasury Department.”

Indeed, it sounds a lot like administration talking points. In spite of the plain language purporting to authorize the collection and searches of Americans' most private financial information, for example, Corker's letter claimed the treaties did not undermine the constitutionally protected right to privacy. “These treaties are consistent with the Fourth Amendment protections ensuring that our citizens are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures,” Corker claimed in the letter to his colleagues. “This is in keeping with the body of U.S. tax law — that appropriately and carefully balances the twin goals of legitimate taxpayer privacy and the fair enforcement of tax laws.” That sounds a lot like Obama's recent complaints about Senator Paul's opposition.  

Corker also defended the tax information exchange regimes envisioned under the treaties, claiming that the massive government data collection would be subject to “stringent controls.” Attacking a straw-man, the U.S. senator from Tennessee also noted that the treaties prohibited information exchange requests for “non-tax purposes.” Presumably, then, the senator views Fourth Amendment abuses as permissible, as long as it is done in the name of “tax purposes.” The Founders and the U.S. Constitution, however, did not provide exceptions to the right to privacy for any purposes. In all cases, Americans have an unalienable right, guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, from searches and seizures, unless a warrant is issued based on probable cause.    

The schemes pushed by Obama and GOP leaders, though, would turn that upside down. As The New American and numerous other publications have pointed out, FATCA and its accompanying schemes would vacuum up sensitive information on Americans worldwide without a warrant or probable cause. The schemes would also involve the gathering of private financial data from domestic institutions, to be shared with foreign governments, dictatorships, corrupt regimes, and more. The potential for abuse is enormous. In response, though, Corker assures his Senate colleagues that the U.S. government “conducts inspections of the laws, policies and infrastructure of foreign governments before sharing any taxpayer information.” Feel safe yet? Ironically, multiple nations have had to shred their own privacy laws to comply with FATCA and Obama's demands.  

Corker also tried to claim that the draconian FATCA regime, which has made life miserable for many millions of poor and middle-class Americans around the world, would go forward regardless of whether the U.S. Senate approved the seven treaties pending before it. “Preventing ratification of the tax treaties will neither repeal FATCA nor block information exchange under FATCA,” Corker claimed in the letter. “The remedy for addressing FATCA concerns is amending or repealing FATCA with an act of Congress.” But it turns out that's not true.

Jatras, the anti-FATCA leader and former diplomat, put his response to the Corker letter's FATCA claims bluntly: “With all due respect to Chairman Corker, this claim is inaccurate.” Indeed, the treaty itself debunks Corker's claim in plain English, Jatras said, when it states that FATCA requests “shall not be made prior to the entry into force” of one of the treaties currently being blocked by Paul and Lee. “If that’s not blocking, what is?” Jatras asked.

But the issue is even broader than privacy concerns, as important as those are. “From the standpoint of American jobs and foreign investment in the U.S., there is even more at stake,” Jatras continued, explaining that Obama's antics had set the United States up for a global outcry over laws in certain American states that protect the privacy of corporations' beneficial owners. “Barack Obama has invited these attacks on America by his administration’s practice over the past five years of subjecting our trading partners to one-sided, costly and humiliating FATCA demands under threat of financial sanctions.”

The reason foreign governments have “capitulated” to the outrageous demands is because Obama, without any semblance of legal authority, promised to hand over private financial data to foreign governments under FATCA's pseudo-treaties. “Now he expects Congress to make good on his imprudent and legally deficient pledges,” Jatras said. And Republican leadership appears to be ready to aid and abet the scheming.     

“It’s important to keep in mind the seven tax treaties are themselves innocuous and even desirable from the standpoint of avoiding double taxation for Americans doing business overseas,” Jatras added. “But contrary to Chairman Corker’s letter, ratifying them without fixing their constitutional defects facilitates their use as vehicles for data reporting under the legally dubious FATCA 'intergovernmental agreements,' many of which also require 'reciprocal reporting' from domestic U.S. institutions to foreign governments. This would hit U.S. banks, credit unions, insurance companies, mutual funds, etc. with costs comparable to those FATCA imposes on foreign institutions, which run into the millions per financial institution.”

Concluding, Jatras urged Republicans not to give Obama and Lew “ex post facto authority” to legalize their FATCA and GATCA scheming, both of which would “hand embattled IRS Commissioner John Koskinen sweeping new regulatory powers.” It is hardly surprising that Obama “seeks to impose these burdens on America as his parting gift,” Jatras said. “What is deplorable is that any Republican leader would help him do it. Instead of promoting Obama’s global regime, it’s time for Senate Republicans to put America first. They should join Senators Paul and Lee in ensuring these treaties are not ratified until Obama leaves office, and get ready to send President Donald Trump a FATCA repeal bill early next year if President Obama succeeds” — of course, not passing the treaties until after they have been improved.

Of course, the establishment GOP's support for and complicity in Obama's radical agenda extends far beyond the noisy backing for his sinister FATCA and GATCA machinations. In fact, the Republican-controlled Congress has funded virtually every element of the White House's demands. Among other outrages, Congress continued tax funding to abortion giant Planned Parenthood, as well as funding for Obama's illegal amnesty, the United Nations “climate” machinations, ObamaCare, and everything else. Republican lawmakers also surrendered congressional authority over trade to the White House by approving “Fast Track” authority to the administration on sovereignty-crushing “free trade” schemes. The establishment GOP support for Obama's FATCA, in particular, though, also represents an attack on the party base — the Republican Party platform officially calls for killing the scheme.    

Americans should thank the brave senators who are standing up to Obama and the establishment wing of the GOP in defense of national sovereignty and privacy rights. As for the Republican leaders trying to ram the schemes through, hopefully they can be educated and convinced to see the error of their ways. If not, considering the fact that all lawmakers take an oath to uphold the Constitution, perhaps it is time for voters in those states to consider new representation in Washington.

 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

 

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