The activists known as the Patriotic Millionaires, who describe themselves as “proud traitors to their class,” want to meet with every member of Congress as part of a lobbying campaign aimed at persuading lawmakers to raise taxes on the rich.
The Patriotic Millionaires’ definition of “rich” includes people “with incomes of over $ 1 million or assets of over $ 5 million, and corporations with more than $ 1 million in annual profits,” according to a memo sent to the group’s partners.
The group, which was founded in 2010 to protest President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, is looking to ride the momentum from the Democratic “blue wave” in the midterms, which gave the party control of the House. Several Patriotic Millionaires members point to proposals, such as freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to tax earnings above $ 10 million at 70 percent, as guides for what they want to see implemented.
Voters generally favor increasing taxes on the rich. For instance, a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 61 percent said they would support Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “wealth tax.” While running for president, the Massachusetts Democrat has proposed levying a 2 percent tax on households with over $ 50 million assets and 3 percent on assets over $ 1 billion.
The group’s advisory board includes several Democratic contributors, including Naomi Aberly, a member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America board, and Daniel Berger, a lawyer and managing shareholder at Berger Montague. Aberly contributed over $ 700,000 during the 2018 midterms while Berger spent more than $ 200,000 on Democratic causes.
For the new campaign, the group has already reached out to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., along with seven other lawmakers. Jayapal and Merkley are scheduled to speak at next week’s TAX THE RICH! conference in Washington, which is where the Patriotic Millionaires expect to launch their new lobbying effort.
Pym said members will also look to speak with Republicans members of the House Ways and Means Committee along with those on the Senate Finance Committee. The memo to the group’s partners also indicates where it will apply pressure.
“We aim to get every center/center left elected official and candidate to commit publicly that they will ‘tax the rich’ and force every center-right candidate to defend their refusal to ‘tax the rich’ in light of overwhelming bipartisan support for higher taxes on the rich,” the memo says.
Patriotic Millionaires members have also talked with some Democratic presidential candidates, including millionaire and retired congressman John Delaney and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Pearl said he also met with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who is considering jumping into the race.
“We are trying to encourage people who are running for president to embrace the tax ideas that we’re talking about,” Pearl said.
Abigail Disney, another top Democratic donor in the group and the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy O. Disney, said Democrats are risking their political fate next year if they don’t seek to raise taxes on the rich and eliminate wealth inequality.
“I think Democrats who won’t speak about this issue, they won’t be able to maintain the message of being the party of the middle class,” Disney said. “If they don’t move ahead with this, I really don’t see how they can win in 2020.”