This is Amazing

Sometimes there really is a conspiracy:

The multimillion-dollar lobbying effort to repeal the federal estate tax has been aggressively led by 18 super-wealthy families, according to a report released today by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy at a press conference in Washington, D.C. The report details for the first time the vast money, influence and deceptive marketing techniques behind the rhetoric in the campaign to repeal the tax.

It reveals how 18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have financed and coordinated a 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax, a move that would collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion.

The report, available at, profiles the families and their businesses, which include the families behind Wal-Mart, Gallo wine, Campbell’s soup, and Mars Inc., maker of M&Ms. Collectively, the list includes the first- and third-largest privately held companies in the United States, the richest family in Alabama and the world’s largest retailer.

These families have sought to keep their activities anonymous by using associations to represent them and by forming a massive coalition of business and trade associations dedicated to pushing for estate tax repeal. The report details the groups they have hidden behind – the trade associations they have used, the lobbyists they have hired, and the anti-estate tax political action committees, 527s and organizations to which they have donated heavily.

Please note: this is NOT posted to the politics:tin-foil category.

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3 Responses to This is Amazing

  1. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    But our government is for the people isn’t it? So by their reasoning those 18 families are people too and we should all be happy that they are fighting for us all.


    All will benefit from the taxes they pay into the system to keep our government running and the roads built and the parks opened and the national library and archives operational, and so on and so on. But only a very few benefit from having the tax repealed.

  2. Matt says:

    This is one of the areas where Bill Gates actually is on the side of the good, interestingly enough. Most of the work is done by his father, I believe, but he himself has opposed cutting estate taxes and has said that he’ll pass on only a small fraction of his fortune (massivly more than most people get, of course, but still only a small fraction of what he has.)

  3. wcw says:

    Warren Buffet has made the requisite public noises, too. However, given the assets each commands run to ~$45 billion, I shall not be impressed until they put real money into it.

    A $500 political contribution is small potatoes, surely, even for a solid middle-class citizen with a $50,000 401(k) and $100,000 in home equity. To put up the same “small potatoes” money, Gates and Buffet would have to drop $150 million each. A max-out-I-really-care $2,000 donation, natch, is $600 million for those two. Chump change.

    While I appreciate that both at least are not on the side of the feckless greedheads, I’m waiting to see even a hundred million to back policies that don’t tax labor to ease the burdens of being superrich.

    It’s times like this I wish I believed in a nice, Dante-esque hell.

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