Thought I would share my experience with everyone on the trials and tribulations of dealing with the Romney campaign on our key issues, especially given the recent post on the non-dialogue with the Obama campaign. This started back in April when I visited the Romney website to see where he stood on FATCA, citizenship based taxation, taxation without representation, etc. There is a sub-page of the website for “issues” and the campaign has obviously gone to great effort to tell everyone where he stands with respect to the US economy, jobs, gun rights, etc… but of course a complete vacuum when it comes to the main issues that impact US citizens abroad. So I fill out the form on the website to contact the campaign and note the total lack of information on the website concerning the issues most important to me, (i.e. FATCA, citizenship based taxation, taxation without representation) and ask where he stands on these issues, as it would be an important consideration to me as to who to vote for and who to financially support as well.
Here is the pathetic form letter I received in response:
Thank you for contacting me to learn more about my policy positions. I appreciate your interest in my campaign for president.
Over the course of the campaign, I look forward to having a continuing conversation with voters about the issues that are so important to ensuring our success as a nation. I hope you’ll take the time to learn about my views at www.MittRomney.com/issues.
I am running for president because I believe in America and know that our best days are still ahead. I believe that the principles that made America the leader of the world today – freedom, opportunity, and free enterprise to name just a few – are the very principles that will keep America the leader of the world tomorrow. These last few years have not been the best of times. But, while we’ve lost a few years, we have not lost our way.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I encourage you to visit my website at www.MittRomney.com to connect further with my campaign and learn about my vision for America’s future.
So, months go by and I decided to visit the Romney website again. To my surprise, the “issues” page is even more developed and contains more subjects and more depth on some issues, but again I am disappointed to find absolutely nothing with respect to the issues most important to me. So lesson learned the first time, won’t go down that route again, so I try another approach or two. On the contact page there is a place to report problems with the website, ok, let’s try the technical approach since the substance approach did not work the first time. I report that I have problems finding any issues related to US citizens abroad, and that the sub-page on the “states” does not list where I live, there must be a problem and could they rectify these issues with the website. Total silence, I received absolutely no response or acknowledgement of my problem with the website.
So I try a third attempt—this time I take the money approach, as that often makes people listen, I hope. Also on the “contacts” page is place to report problems making a donation. So I try this out. Indeed there is a problem. The page to make a donation has a mandatory field for “state” and “zipcode”. The “state” field has a drop down menu, so you have to choose one of their choices, of course the 50 states and the District of Columbia are listed but no Switzerland, nor any other foreign country for that matter, and no way to get around it. But then I do notice they have the Mariana Islands listed, hmmmm, quite interesting but still no foreign locations. So I try to report this deficiency through the webform, only there is a problem just reporting the problem, you have to fill out the mandatory “state” field just to report. Ok, so I become an honorary resident of the Mariana Islands in the eyes of the Romney campaign in order to report this issue. I am able to input a fake zipcode of “00000”. I tell them I cannot make a donation as my resident country is not listed and I temporarily lied and do not live in the Mariana Islands. Could they fix this problem in case I or other US citizens abroad would like to donate, and would appreciate Romney revoking FATCA as a first priority as we might not have a bank account long enough to make a donation. I wait, but am surprised to find a response 3 days later…it seems money does make people listen, but still they have not answered any of the real questions. Here is the response:
Thank you for your email. We are working on helping our U.S. citizens to donate abroad. For the time being please mail in your contributions. You can send your donation to the following address:
Romney Victory, Inc.
PO Box 149756
Boston, MA 02114-9756
Please note that a donor form needs to accompany your donation. I’ve attached one to this email.
So in sum, it is clear we do not exist in the eyes of the Romney campaign, our issues are non-existant, and I suspect we will get nowhere trying to engage these politicians in an election year on issues that are important to us. However, they are willing to take our money!
Just like Obama with his fundraiser in Switzerland – They don’t care about expat issues (just money) and anyone who thinks that either will lift a finger to do anything to address these issues after the campaign is over is kidding themselves I think…
*In refreshing contrast, here is a recent reply from Senator Rand Paul when asked about Fatca. Shame he isn’t running for President.
“From: “U.S. Senator Rand Paul” <email@example.com>
from Senator Rand Paul
Date: August 10, 2012 12:16:01 AM GMT+03:00
August 9, 2012
you for taking the time to contact me regarding the Foreign Account Tax
Compliance Act (FATCA). I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this
During the 111th Congress, Congress passed and President
Obama signed into law, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment
(HIRE) Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-147). This legislation drastically expanded
government involvement in the financial goings-on of Americans who live
and work abroad. FATCA, the tax evasion provision in this bill,
requires all foreign financial institutions (FFI) to provide a detailed
report on American account holders to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
beginning in 2013, or be subjected to a 30 percent withholding tax on
income from U.S. assets. American account holders with more than $50,000
who fail to file a report with the IRS
would also be subject to a 30 percent withholding tax. As a newly
elected member of the 112th Congress, I did not participate in the
debate of this law and would have voted against it if I had been.
only does FATCA allow the government to obtain a wide array of
international banking records without evidence of such tax evasion, but
the outrageous cost of compliance with this requirement has been
estimated at $30 million per FFI. Rather than comply, many banks have
refused to serve American clients and have begun shutting down their
accounts. I have serious concerns with FATCA and that is why, along with
my Republican colleagues, Senators Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Jim DeMint
(S.C.) and Mike Lee (Utah), I wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim
Geithner questioning the implementation of this onerous mandate.
have long been a critic of government intrusion into the privacy rights
of Americans. As a lead opponent of the May 2011 extension
of the USA PATRIOT Act, which allows the federal government to engage
in warrantless searches, I believe the right to privacy is critical to
the preservation of other rights. We have to be very careful not to
continue down the slippery slope that our current and previous
Administrations has taken us.
Rest assured I am fully aware of
the effect FATCA is having on Americans overseas and will continue to
keep a close watch on this issue. As I represent the Commonwealth of
Kentucky in the United States Senate, I will remain committed to
defending the proper role of the federal government, as outlined by the
Constitution, and defending the rights of all Americans citizens.
thank you for sharing your concerns with me. Please do not hesitate to
contact my office in the future regarding federal issues.
Rand Paul, MD
*Is it any surprise? I believe I said that neither parties give a damn about our situation 6 months ago.
Senator Rand Paul’s mail shows, if senators and congressmen can know how their law is hurting innocent US persons living abroad. The senators and congressmen are like operators in bombers who just press a key 10000 feet above the ground to drop bombs and totally unconcerned about collateral damage. They say they are targeting tax evaders (e.g. terrorists), but take no care to avoid innocent civilians. They are willfully blind to destruction of innocent civilians.
Even sending money to Romney via a mailing address can be difficult from abroad. Cash would probably never reach the destination, assuming that one can even get dollars at a local bank, and Switzerland stopped using checks years ago. Without investigating the matter further, I have no idea how I could send money to a mailing address.
As for the changing the web site to allow foreign addresses, that could probably be done in about 10 minutes.
My letter to Rand Paul, just sent right now:
*Oooops, I should probably double-check what I write for spelling errors which result from corrections, but, oh well, it won’t make a difference anyways.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
Awesome! The transformation to banana republic is complete. I would bet that this means that Obama is a shoe-in because all those Dems would never let Romney have this power. I loved this part:
A big sigh due to that information that you found. Coming up next: indefinite terms for Presidents. Obama is starting to act a lot like Mugabwe.
@Confederate, Geeeez, Mugabe, It is clear that the Obama administration never cared much for Senate approval and that is essentially the reason that he runs his government through unappointed, unapproved Czars and assistants (e.g., Valerie Jarret, who is his main drill sargeant). Apparently he’s didn’t start this trend, but has made it into an art form. In my understanding, the constitutional reason for approval is so that there would be a minimum of vetting and the president would not have the power to appoint a bunch of scoundrels into the most powerful positions in government.
US congressmen will only listen when the punch is “below the belt”. Let’s wait until foreign governments start slapping reciprocal 30% witholding charges on Fortune 500 and major American private companies moving money back to the US due to FATCA penalties being applied on banks from those countries. Then US congressmen will definitely start opening their ears to major campaign contributors.
As for citizenship-based taxation, I see no hope in this archaic Civil War-era legislation being repealed. Relinquishment is the only solution and I look forward to it soon.
Thanks for sharing your well documented exercise in futility. Just more evidence that we are only seen as dollar signs and votes. For everything else we are liabilities. Any ideas on how we can make our presence be known by expanding and building on those liabilities?
*@Petros, I share your concern about these recent developments. The US strikes me as not so bad as long as you’re off the radar but if one gets them angry, then they can turn very nasty. It’s why I wouldn’t want to risk any red flags, myself.
Correction: there are those who don’t even appreciate us for our votes, and call for an end to absentee ballots. How can we be so utterly invisible to so many, this bit from a law and political science professor:
“So you think that Republicans, newly obsessed with voter fraud, would call for eliminating absentee ballots, or at least requiring that voters who use them show some need, like a medical condition. But Republican don’t talk much about reining in absentee ballots. Eliminating them would inconvenience some voters and would likely cut back of voting by loyal Republican voters, especially elderly and military voters.”
Can report that I got the same form letter from the Romney campaign in response to my letter.
@bubblebustin, The Times printed a very good response from John Flint of AARO in response to that article. Rather distressing that this sort of thing must be pointed out again and again and yet AGAIN.
I received a very nice personalized and on topic response from Rand Paul today, even though I don’t live in Kentucky and am not registered to vote there. 🙂 So far, only Rand Paul and Glenn Burkett have responded to my messages.
As you may recall, Senators Paul, Chambliss, Demint and Lee sent a letter to the Secretary of Treasury, Tim Geithner, on July 25, 2012 requesting a response to a list of FATCA agreement questions with a deadline in 30 days. That should be EOB today. The ACA is likely tracking this and, to the extent that they obtain a copy of the responses, I would expect that it would be posted on their website in the coming days. FYI.
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*Americans abroad can donate to democrats using the following page: