Americans for Tax Reform

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)

 Background

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) is ostensibly a group that pushes for lower taxes. It has close ties to the Republican Party, is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Cooler Heads Coalition (CHC), and has been known to ally itself with the tobacco industry.

ATR is run by Gover Norquist, listed as one of the “Gang of Five” in Nina Easton's 2000 book by that name that describes the history of the leaders of the modern conservative movement.

ATR runs a number of “special projects” and their “affiliates” include the Property Rights Alliance which opposes estate tax, environmental protection, and licensing restrictions, and the “Alliance for Worker Freedom” which opposes unions.

Stance on Climate Change

  • “Increased carbon emissions caused a 'greenhouse effect' which changed the climate and caused the earth to warm. The increases in carbon eventually changed the climate again and the earth is now cooling. The carbon has continued to increase and the planet has warmed (slightly) and cooled (slightly) …” [1]
  • “The actions of these do-gooder greenies have led to the deaths of millions of people in developing countries do to malaria outbreaks that could have been prevented with the use of DDT. The current proposals to limit CO2 emissions will have equally devastating effects to not only Americans but to the rest of the world as well.” [2]

 Funding

Media Matters breaks down ATR's funding as follows: [3]

According to Greenpeace, ATR received $40,000 from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2010 and a total of $60,000 between 1997 and 2010. [4]

SourceWatch found that ATR has also received funding from numerous tobacco companies including R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, and the Tobacco Institute.

Key People

 Staff

As of May, 2012: [5]

  • Grover Norquist — President.
  • Christopher Butler — Chief of Staff.
  • Holly Jackson — Director of Development.
  • John Kartch — Communications Director.
  • Ryan Ellis — Tax Policy Director.
  • Candice N. Boyer — Director of Scheduling and Outreach.
  • Kelly W. Cobb — Government Affairs Manager.
  • Mattie Duppler — Government Affairs Manager.
  • Christopher Prandoni — Federal Affairs Manager.
  • Patrick Gleason — Director of State Affairs.
  • Joshua Culling — State Affairs Manager.
  • William Upton — State Affairs Manager.
  • Adam L. Radman — Grassroots Campaigns Manager.
  • Megan McChesney — Finance Manager.
  • Rachel Hyde — Operations Manager and Internship Coordinator.
  • Anna Henderson — Project Coordinator.

 Actions

May 21 - 23, 2012

ATR is listed as a Co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).

June, 2009

ATR opposed the Renewable Portfolio Standard in the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey plan which called for measures to reduce CO2 emissions. [6]

November 10, 2009

Grover Norquist represented Americans for Tax Reform when he testified on “Climate Change Legislation: Considerations for Future Jobs.”

According to Norquist, “The Cap and Trade legislation this Committee is considering is being sold as an attempt to control the climate; however there is no conclusive proof that it will have any effect. There is, however, considerable evidence that this legislation will have a disastrous economic effect on the country.” As proof he cites information provided by the Institute for Energy Research (IER), an organization that has received significant funding from the oil industry.

Norquist strongly opposes tax increases on the oil industry, stating that “Raising taxes on oil companies by increasing the amortization period of geological and geophysical (G&G) expenditures makes U.S. oil and natural gas exploration projects less competitive globally…”

with reference to Green jobs, he argues that “not only are these jobs costly, they are also unsustainable.” [7]

July, 2008

Released a “cost of Government Day” 2008 Report (PDF) that criticizes increased in government spending and regulation. In a section critical of the EPA, ATR describes regulation costs as “threatening to explode due to costly and unnecessary global warming regulation.” [8]

According to ATR, cap and trade and other regulatory measures to combat global warming should not be implemented because “there is still no scientific consensus on the nature, origins, or there has been no warming for at least 10 years, and extent of the global climate change we may be experiencing. Indeed, some point to studies showing even the U.N. has recently projected there will be no warming for at least another 10 years as well. In fact, the global temperature data has shown a slight cooling trend over the last 5 years which may well continue.”

To support this last statement, ATR cites an article in Fox News written by climate skeptic Steve Milloy.

March 2 - 4, 2008

ATR was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's First International Conference on Climate Change. [9]

October 12, 2006

ATR was one of five conservative nonprofit organizations that “appear to have perpetrated a fraud” on taxpayers by selling their influence to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to Senate investigators. 

According to the report, and the summary article in The Washington Post, ATR “probably violated their tax-exempt status 'by laundering payments and then disbursing funds at Mr. Abramoff's direction; taking payments in exchange for writing newspaper columns or press releases that put Mr. Abramoff's clients in a favorable light; introducing Mr. Abramoff's clients to government officials in exchange for payment; and agreeing to act as a front organization for congressional trips paid for by Mr. Abramoff's clients.'” [10]

This included a $25,000 payment to Abramoff in 2001. [11]

June 7, 2002

ATR President Grover Norquist signed a letter to President Bush, asking him to withdraw the “Climate Action Report 2002” and demand that it be rewritten based on “sound science”. The letter also recommends that Bush “dismiss or re-assign all administration employees who are not pursuing your agenda, just as you have done in several similar instances.” [12]

Related Organizations

 Resources

  1. Global Warming Has Brought on A New Ice Age!”, Americans for Tax Reform, November 10, 2009.

  2. Not Evil Just Wrong exposing the costs of Global Warming Hysteria,” Americans for Tax Reform, August 25, 2009.

  3. Americans for Tax Reform,” Media Matters. Accessed May 10, 2012.

  4. Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group: Americans for Tax Reform (ATR),” Greenpeace. Accessed May 10, 2012.

  5. ATR Staff,” Americans for Tax Reform. Accessed May 10, 2012.

  6. ATR Opposes the Renewable Electricity Standards in Waxman-Markey,” Americans for Tax Reform, June 25, 2009.

  7. ATR Testimony for Senate Hearing on Climate Change Legislation: Considerations for Future Jobs,” Americans for Tax Reform, November 10, 2009.

  8. “Cost of Government Day 2008 Report” (PDF) Center for Fiscal Accountability and Americans for Tax Reform Foundation.

  9. sponsorships,” the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. Archived May 14, 2008.

  10. James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt. “Report Says Nonprofits Sold Influence to Abramoff,” The Washington Post, October 13, 2006.

  11. Philip Shenon. “$25,000 to Lobby Group Is Tied to Access to Bush,” The New York Times, March 10, 2006.

  12. Fred L. Smith, Jr. “Joint Letter To President Bush On The EPA's Climate Action Report,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 7, 2002.

  13. About,” Globalwarming.org. Accessed May 10, 2012.

  14. Americans for Tax Reform,” SourceWatch.

  15. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Americans for Tax Reform, ATR.

  16. Deniers:Organisations:Americans for Tax Reform,” ExxonSecrets Wiki.

  17. Greenpeace Investigations documents on Americans for Tax Reform.