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Report Exposes Wealthy Families Behind Estate Tax Repeal Effort
A new report by the advocacy groups Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy reveals that the lobbying effort to repeal the estate tax has been led by 18 super-wealthy families. The families behind Wal-Mart, Gallo Winery, Campbell Soup Company, and Mars Inc., among others, have funded a multi-million dollar campaign to repeal the federal estate tax. According to the 58-page report, titled "Spending Millions to Save Billions," the families stand to collectively gain $71.6 billion if the tax is repealed, but have kept their involvement anonymous by using associations to represent them.
The report also claims the families have misled the public on the importance of the estate tax to most Americans. In 2006, only estates worth more than $2 million will be taxed. According to the report, 99.7 percent of people who die this year will not be subject to the estate tax. The report states that if the estate tax is repealed, it will cost the U.S. Treasury a trillion dollars in the first decade.
According to the report, the families have used their own wealth and company resources to fund the lobbying effort, which has included attacks against Republican and Democratic senators, including former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Olympia Snow (R-Maine), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Lincoln Chaffee (R-R.I.), and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
To read the full report, click here.