New Flophouse Address:

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Friday, April 28, 2017

FATCA: Daniel and Donna-Lane Go to Washington

"The other day I was speaking of the soldiers in the fight against FATCA and citizenship-based taxation.  Meet Daniel Kuettel and Donna-Lane Nelson who testified two days ago at a Sub-Committee on Government Operations hearing,  Reviewing the Unintended Consequences of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).  They were part of a larger delegation who went to Washington, D.C. to fight on behalf of Americans abroad.

Yes, folks, we finally got a hearing and and were well represented by Daniel, Donna, and Mark Crawford. Daniel and Donna both renounced their US citizenship because of FATCA and their compelling testimony gave voice to the millions impacted by this law.  Finally, US lawmakers saw the human face of those "unintended consequeneces."

I have to agree with Rick, Donna-Lane's spouse, that there was a lot of dodging and ducking on the part of FATCA's supporters at the hearing. I would summarize their defense as "It's not that bad" and "How else are we going to catch them?" Ahem.  Yes, ladies and gentlement, it is and government has other tools at their disposal to catch them that do not trample on Americans' consitutional protections. What ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?"  Probable cause?  Getting a warrant before storming into someone's house or looking at their bank account activity?

There was also very credible evidence presented at the hearing that showed that the US government's efforts to find them aren't even getting a reasonable return since the costs are so high.  And out of what has been disclosed, the majority (80%) of the money is penalties, fees and interest, not taxes.

In response to those who say that we need more of  FATCA/CRS and damn the consequences, Edmund Burke said it far better than I ever could:

"It is the nature of tyranny and rapacity never to learn moderation from the ill-success of first oppressions; on the contrary, all oppressors, all men thinking highly of the methods dictated by their nature, attribute the frustration of their desire to the want of sufficient rigor.  Then they redouble the efforts of their impotent cruelty, which producing, as they ever must produce, new disappointments, they grow irrational against the objects of their rapacity; and then rage, fury, malice, implacable because unprovoked, recruiting and reinforcing their avarice, their vices are not longer human."

I urge you to watch the video.  I have included it in this post but for a much better and more comprehensive review of the hearing, please head over to the Isaac Brock Society (God bless the Brockers!) where Eric has put together a post with the video, summaries of the different speakers and lots o' links.  This is also THE place to join the international conversation about FATCA and citizenship-based taxation.  As I write this there are already 35 responses to Eric's post.

Donna-Lane, Daniel and Mark: You put youself on the frontlines of the American Diaspora Tax War and I thank you from the bottom of  my heart for your service.


Tim said...

Thanks for this Victoria,

I was at the hearing and might be able to make guest post at the Flophouse once I review all of my notes and allow yesterday's events to sink in.

One note I will make is while I met representative of both Democrats Abroad and Republicans Overseas and both cordiale to myself and each other in the last 24 hours tension between the Republican and Democratic camps over FATCA is rising to record levels. I will have more to say about this later but I think the seriousness that some in the GOP are taking this issue is starting to make Democrats nervous.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Tim, I would be THRILLED to have your impressions of the hearing. The Flophouse is yours. Yes, I can well imagine the tensions. Maloney should never have asked that question of Dani because she got an honest answer: no, SCE is not THE answer. Politicians usually know better.

However, the good news is that I think we are finally getting them to admit that reform or repeal is required. That is light years from where we were just a few years ago when they would pat us on the head and tell us that we were imagining all those consequences.

Ellen Lebelle said...

In the car, not driving, and just read the Brock report. It's form 8968, for the record, not 8966.

DL NELSON said...

Thank you for the kind words.

Rick Adams said...

Thank you, Victoria, for posting this and for the links to my blog and D-L's website. We have long appreciated your kindred spirit, your wit, and especially your thorough analysis of expat issues. Hoping we might have a chance to meet someday. Rick and Donna-Lane

Blaze said...

I thought much of the hearing was disgusting. Really, really disgusting. Believe me.

Dani, Donna and Mark were superb. But it was apparent minds were already made up as evidenced by the statement about the need to combat terrorist financing. I had no idea that I am a terrorist financier through my Canadian Old Age Pension (OAP) in my local credit union,

I think banks around the world will be quite surprised to learn that one of the reasons for continuing FATCA is because of how much money FFIs have already spent.

Congressman Meadows was absoliutely brilliant at outing Ms Bean on her blatant lies. Oops. I mean alternative facts.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Donna-Lane: You have great courage and you did so well. Brava!

Rick: I loved your analysis of the hearing. I am back in Europe soon and I would like nothing better than to meet you and Donna-Lane in person.

Blaze: Yeah, Bean was pretty "truthy." We are being framed. Literally. We are facing a frame in Lakoff's sense of the term. The issue is being presented as being all about tax evasion/terrorist financing/human trafficking financing. This is intentional and it is being used by government all over the world to support GATCA. How could anyone possibly be against anything that stops the spoiled rich, terrorists or human traffickers? This approach plays into fears about globalization, deficits, threats to social welfare spending. See the discussion in a previous post about Melenchon and his proposal to implement CBT in France. In the comments a young Frenchman in Canada vigorously defends Melenchon's proposal.

My take is that we have to challenge the frame. Dani and Donna-Lane's testimonies were a direct challenge to it because they don't fit their frame. Thus the attempts to discredit them. We need more of that and we need our own consistent frame that shows their frame to be ridiculous. As you point out a pension is hardly grounds for suspecting anyone of being a terrorist. My local bank a few hundred meters from my house is not "offshore". We could really use a Stephen Colbert here...

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Ellen: I thought it was 8938.

Unknown said...

I encourage viewing the entire hearing and also the FATCA Post-hearing press conference 4-26.2017

@Tim. I look forward to your comments.

Ellen Lebelle said...

Try to see her when she comes through Paris. You can stay at my house.

Ellen Lebelle said...

You are right! I got hung up on the 6

Ellen Lebelle said...

8938, sorry.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Hi Ellen, I still can't remember what they renamed the FBAR so I still call it the FBAR. :-) Are you talking about Donna-Lan? Oh I would LOVE to meet her AND to see you again!