Statement from @AARO (unlike @DEMSabroad) supports Bopp #FATCA lawsuit

Official statement from AARO on the FATCA Lawsuit filed last Tuesday.

The filing of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of FATCA is one more development in the history of a law that AARO has always felt was crafted hastily without thinking of its repercussions on the estimated 8.7 million Americans living and working around the globe, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding citizens who strive, even when it is difficult overseas, to comply with their country’s tax laws.

As a non-partisan organization representing the interests of all overseas Americans, AARO supports all efforts to eliminate or alleviate the damaging effects of FATCA, including this constitutional challenge that would have the law repealed. Likewise, since the very early days of FATCA, we have supported the “safe harbor” concept that would eliminate from FATCA reporting the accounts held by overseas taxpayers in the country where they are fiscally domiciled. In that connection, we are grateful for the efforts of the Co-chairs of the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus to convince Treasury Secretary Lew and IRS Chairman Koskinen of its merits.

Both approaches appear to us to pose problems – in the case of the constitutional challenge, probable litigation that could take months if not years to resolve, and in the case of the “same country exception”, probable difficulties in satisfying banks and the IRS of a taxpayer’s legitimate status abroad. However, we support any effort to alleviate the negative effects of FATCA on Americans abroad. AARO’s sole concern is the financial, professional, domestic and personal well-being of people abroad who are being treated like “tax cheats” because of financial accounts they must maintain in their countries of residence.

Note that the statement from Democrats Abroad condemning the Bopp/Republicans Overseas FATCA lawsuit is here.

1 thought on “Statement from @AARO (unlike @DEMSabroad) supports Bopp #FATCA lawsuit

  1. John Prince

    25th June 2015
    Ms. Eshoo
    When you and your fellow co-conspirators in congress voted on FATCA you murdered my son
    This beautiful person who wanted to live out his dream in peace in another land was destroyed by you.
    You and your fellow co-conspirators, with your unattainable requirements,
    boxed him into a mental dilemma from which he could not escape.
    As a just person he found your injustice in FATCA incomprehensible.
    After a year of intensely trying to figure out what to do
    he committed suicide.
    There are families in grief in your constituency.
    There are families in mourning on both sides of the Atlantic.
    You have destroyed a decent person worth a thousand Obamas.
    You have ruined the happiness of dozens of friends and family members
    through your cruelty revealed within this monstrous law.
    You have utterly destroyed our faith in government with the
    incomprehensibility, inhumanity and malice of this law.
    Your only hope of atonement?
    Repeal FATCA NOW
    Sincerely in grief
    John Prince

    14th July 2015
    Dear Ms. Eshoo,
    Re: Death of Jonathan A. Prince, a citizen of Sweden
    Thus is clearly an over-reach by an agency of the US government of the grossest magnitude. FATCA affects eight-and-a-half million Americans occupying themselves honorably abroad. This is IRS abuse on a scale far vaster than the diminutive insults inflicted by Lois Lerner’s 501(c)(3) scandal. FATCA is an act of IRS persecution, with a far greater ill effect on American lives than Lois Lerner’s pinpricks. It cannot be dismissed in a form letter.
    I have filed the cause of his death as: “Persecution by an Agency of the Government of the United States.”
    It is clear that the United States is in full violation of its Principles on U.S. foreign policy and most Articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. (For reference you may see both Principles and Articles appended below.)
    FATCA, signed into law by Mr. Obama on the 18th of March 2010, can be shown to violate these Principles and Articles with the uttermost disregard possible.

    Here is a preamble to this law:

    “The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a United States federal law requiring United States persons (including those living outside the U.S.) to have yearly reported themselves and their non-U.S. financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), and requires all non-US (Foreign) Financial Institutions (FFI’s) to search their records for suspected US persons for reporting their assets and identities to the US Treasury. Congress enacted FATCA to make it more difficult for (resident and non-resident) U.S. persons to have financial assets which are not located in the United States, by adding further asset-reporting law with consequences, and thus to enable further federal tax revenues and penalties from a wider global population of newly discovered US persons and their partners, at the expense of non-US banks.”

    Just looking at Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one already sees that the IRS is over-reaching by its criminalization of every American living abroad, and in making them report to the “Financial Crimes Enforcement Network”, as if it’s already proven that every American living abroad is abroad with criminal intent.

    In Article 1 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” is clearly not true when FINCEN
    Is searching “the… records of suspected US persons for reporting their assets and identities” – is it enough to be suspected that allows the IRS to take way a person’s dignity and rights? And what right does the IRS have to do this to anyone anywhere outside the US, let alone to a Swedish citizen?

    In Article 2 “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration” with “no distinction … on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs.” So the rights and freedoms are universal but the IRS is allowed to go far beyond its domestic charter in going after anyone anywhere, even against the laws of another country?

    In Article 3 is the most fundamental of all “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Clearly the authors of FATCA thought the rights of anyone irrelevant to the needs of the US government.

    One may look at Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and one sees that
    (i) “No-one shall be held in slavery or servitude”, (ii) “No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, nhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, and (iii) “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law”. Except, of course, when it’s a US law which utterly disregards the laws of every other country in the world, including Sweden. And except when that slavery is due to an agency of the US government, namely the IRS, which is trying desperately to keep Americans abroad in servitude, and except where that torture is the daily threat to appropriate a part or all of every asset a person has acquired abroad by honest labor, and which has already been taxed at the highest rate in the world, as in Sweden.

    That is just touching the surface of the malfeasance of this run-amok agency of the US government. The true magnitude of what FATCA has perpetrated and achieved is utterly appalling. No other country in the world has ever persecuted its citizens like this for migrating abroad. EVER.

    To look a little further into this “Reign of Terror” of a US agency, one may see its truly malign influence on individuals, commerce and foreign relations. Everyone knows that no bank abroad wants anything to do with an individual born in America or bearing an American passport: this makes travel and commerce impossible.
    But that is beside the point: it’s the US law and must prevail globally. That FATCA has poisoned international relations, has made the US a demi-pariah, and is even being copied by neo-soviet states like Russia, is beside the point: it’s the US law and must prevail globally. This is clearly nonsense, but it is the law, indiscriminate and vicious.

    It is particularly where FATCA preys on individuals that the damage to human rights is most gross. In my son’s case it was first, the closing down of his Swedish bank account. It was then his realization that the government of the United States was after a complete accounting of every asset he had earned in Sweden with hard, honest labor over a period of twenty years. As a Swedish citizen, he had already been taxed at the highest rate in the world bar none. This sense of persecution and injustice by an alien agent was continuously and overwhelmingly felt by him.

    From Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” (in the Declaration of Independence “ … the pursuit of happiness”), Jonathan experienced the “loss of happiness” as a result of losing his bank account, and gradually, as he realized the full magnitude of the requirements of FATCA, in the torture of its implications. Jonathan lost his liberty when finding out, just before his death, that his communications with his bank (and only those communications) had been compromised. He knew then that he had no liberty, as guaranteed by Article 3, at all.

    Hemmed in by the egregious requirements of an incomprehensible and unjust alien law, Jonathan saw his life as being made increasingly worthless. He was isolated within Sweden, among Swedish friends, as a pariah. His protection under the laws of Sweden, where he was a deeply law-abiding citizen, he witnessed evaporating. Anguished by the dilemmas of FATCA – he would not pay an unjust tax for owning property in Sweden nor would he pay the tax for giving up his U.S. citizenship – why should he? – he went out and hanged himself. His daughter went outside and found him hanging by his neck in the morning.

    So Jonathan lost his happiness, he lost his liberty (and “security of person”) and thrust into isolation utterly by a country he loved (but, in keeping his passport, he wished to return to one day) he went out and killed himself. In a mockery by FATCA’s blind injustice this proved to invert “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” into the opposite, completely miss-stating the order of these words in the Declaration of Independence.
    Article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” The “State” to which this refers is the United States; the “activity” or “act” being performed to which this refers is the activity of FATCA; the “destruction” to which this refers is the deliberate destruction by an agency of the US government of all of Jonathan’s rights and freedoms as set forth above.
    I have therefore listed, as I must in honesty, the cause of Jonathan’s death as “Persecution by an Agency of the Government of the United States”. More simply “Persecution by the government” of which you are a part.

    I believe the United States under Mr. Obama is wholly and uniquely responsible for this most diabolical law.
    FATCA violates fully half of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore FATCA will be,
    as it must be, abolished by the United States, else the Universal Declaration of Human Rights means nothing.

    FATCA is also totally against the Principles appended below, that “Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy”. My son’s human rights, as a decent, honorable citizen of Sweden, were stripped from him mercilessly by FATCA, making a mockery of
    these Principles.

    Which part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that do you do not understand, Ms. Eshoo? That somehow being enthralled by Mr. Obama’s oratory, in a congress filled with Democrats, you could go ahead and pass any law Mr. Obama wanted, Human Rights be damned? This congress, known as “The Brutal One-Eleventh” for the laws you whipped through, undertook the passage of these laws in utter disregard for the rights of American citizens at home or anywhere.

    Jonathan leaves behind a Swedish wife and two beautiful Swedish children. It leaves behind individuals all over the United States and Europe grieving for a beautiful person essentially murdered by an act ill-considered by congress and signed into law by a feckless Obama. The stigma of FATCA is one which you and your fellow Democrats – Pelosi, Reid and Obama – will bear forever.

    Millions of people around the globe are regretting that Mr. Obama ever came into office. The world burns while feckless Obama dithers. I am regretting this monster infinitely more than anyone with the loss of my son.

    Sincerely, and in immense grief,
    John Prince, father to Jonathan

    A. Principles. Under the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor it says the following:
    “Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. The values captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other global and regional commitments are consistent with the values upon which the United States was founded centuries ago. The United States supports those persons who long to live in freedom and under democratic governments that protect universally accepted human rights. The United States uses a wide range of tools to advance a freedom agenda, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. The United States is committed to working with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom.”

    “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
    Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”
    Article 1.
    • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
    Article 2.
    • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
    Article 3.
    • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
    Article 4.
    • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
    Article 5.
    • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    Article 6.
    • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
    Article 7.
    • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
    Article 8.
    • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
    Article 9.
    • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
    Article 10.
    • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
    Article 11.
    • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
    • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
    Article 12.
    • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
    Article 13.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
    Article 14.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
    • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
    Article 15.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
    • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
    Article 16.
    • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
    Article 17.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
    • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
    Article 18.
    • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
    Article 19.
    • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
    Article 20.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    • (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
    Article 21.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
    • (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
    • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
    Article 22.
    • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
    Article 23.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
    Article 24.
    • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
    Article 25.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
    Article 26.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
    • (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
    • (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
    Article 27.
    • (1) Everyone has the right to freely to participate in the cultural life of the community,
    to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any
    scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
    Article 28.
    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
    Article 29.
    • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
    • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
    • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
    Article 30.
    • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


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