Policy Analysis No. 407

More Government for All: How Taxpayers Subsidize Anti-Tax Cut Advocacy

By John Samples, Christopher Yablonski and Ivan G. Osorio
July 10, 2001

Executive Summary

The Fair Taxes for All Coalition has been a major opponent of President Bush’s proposed tax cut. Research shows that the groups composing the Fair Taxes for All Coalition received $618 million in taxpayer money in recent years.

Public money going to the Fair Taxes for All groups subsidizes their advocacy. Money is fungible. Taxpayer money that goes to a group for one purpose frees funds for advocacy, including advocacy against tax cuts.

American democratic processes should be constitutional, responsive, and neutral. Judged by those standards, public subsidies for anti-tax cut advocacy distort democratic processes in two ways: First, they bias the political process toward the recipients of subsidies. Second, they induce demands on government that would not exist without the subsidies.

Americans need better disclosure of public subsidies for political advocacy, and Congress should seek effective ways to prevent public money from being used to support political causes of any kind.

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John Samples is director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Representative Government. Christopher Yablonski, a researcher at Capital Research Center in Washington, is the editor of CRC’s Mandate for Charity: Policy Proposals for the Bush Administration. Ivan Osorio, also a researcher at CRC, is the editor of CRC’s Labor Watch.