As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Jim DeMint will step down from his position as junior senator from South Carolina to become the head of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
For those of you not familiar with his name, DeMint deserves credit as one of a small number of Republicans who fought back against Chuck Grassley (R-IA)’s midnight sneak attack on U.S. persons abroad in the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. In the aftermath of that bill, DeMint realised the contents of the so-called “Tax Increase Prevention” he had voted for, and sponsored two bills to undo Grassley’s obsessive handiwork and make the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion unlimited: S.3496 in 2006 and S.1140 in 2007. Unfortunately, those both went to the Senate Committee on Finance, where they were left to die by the Committee’s chairman … Chuck Grassley.
At the Heritage Foundation, DeMint will replace Edwin Feulner, who has also on occasion spoken out against taxation of U.S. Persons abroad.
Jim DeMint, champion of ex-pats. Sorry to see him go.
Of course Sen DeMint was one of the four signatories on July letter on FATCA to Geithner: http://www.repealfatca.com/index.asp?idmenu=4&title=News&idsubmenu=103
I’ll check with his staff. Maybe some of them are going there with him. If we could get Heritage cranked up against FATCA that would be a good start.
@Jim, I met with DeMint’s assistant Alec Aramanda, who had worked in the Heritage Foundation before becoming his assistant. He clearly told me that DeMint would like to repeal FATCA.
You seem to be excited that DeMint and maybe also his staff would go to the Heritage Foundation, but this foundation can’t achieve anything unless it convinces Congress to adopt its proposals. Right now DeMint is a senator and already has the power to introduce and vote on any bill he wants. How on Earth is he going to be more successful as a lobbyist than as a senator? This is not making any sense to me. I think he is actually retiring for personal reasons, perhaps beyond his control, and being director of the Heritage Foundation will be just a title.
I couldn’t disagree more. Alec was the staffer who helped get the Paul, DeMint, Lee, Chambliss letter out in July. Good guy — let’ve see where he ends up.
Sure, a Senator can drop legislation and, usually, get it voted on. Legislation to repeal FATCA has already been drafted. But that’s the easy part. It’s not much good if the political ground hasn’t been worked to define the issue so you win, not lose. Think tanks are among the most useful resources in doing that, along with media. At Heritage, DeMint won’t be a lobbyist, he’ll be the head of the most influential think tank on the GOP side. If (my broken record again) there’s ever a serious lobbying and education effort here in DC, with DeMint there Heritage could be a significant element of it, along with CATO, Indpendent Institute, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and others. But that doesn’t happen on its own — it has to be organized and funded (working on it!).
As for DeMint’s personal reasons, I can’t speculate, but frankly Heritage could use some new blood. I’m very optimistic. If I’d have known, I’d have worked it into my analysis yesterday. http://www.repealfatca.com/index.asp?idmenu=4&title=News&idsubmenu=104 . In any case, his succesor, whoever that turns out to be, will no doubt be of similar mind. It’s win-win.
@Jim, You seem to know a lot about think tanks and their influence in Congress, while I don’t know much about them. If you think that the Heritage Foundation would accomplish more with DeMint there instead of in Congress, I can’t complain.
About Alec, yes, he is a very nice guy.
I’m not the least bit impressed by the Heritage Foundation (conservative, hawkish and pro-Israel) but I’m sure DeMint will be very impressed by his 500% increase in pay. Anyway, I can still be grateful for his views on FATCA, even though I’m not sure it will be a priority for him at the Heritage Foundation. We’ll see.
Like I said, “Heritage could use some new blood.” As it stands now, it has become a knee-jerk voice of the GOP establishment, including mindless hawkishness on global issues. I’m hopeful DeMint will point it toward a more realistic direction, if not on everything than at least on some issues, like FATCA. The fact is, Heritage is the big boy in Washington when it comes to the Republicans but in its current configuration is worse than useless on the issues that concern Isaac Brock Society participants. I can’t guarantee that will change under DeMint but let’s hope.