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FairTax response to inaccurate Politico.com story

We wanted you to be the first to see our Letter to the Editor of  Politico.com about their recent, inaccurate story about FairTax:

“Friday’s article “Americans for Fair Taxation backs Cain,” and Politico.com’s subsequent update subsequent update [See below] contained a significant factual error and misrepresented the efforts of Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT) at the upcoming Iowa Straw Poll on August 11, in Ames, Iowa. AFFT is a non-partisan, 501c4 that does not advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for public office.  Let me be clear, AFFT does not now nor has it ever favored, endorsed or backed any one candidate, political party or incumbent over another. We do not make monetary contributions to political candidates and expressly state in guidelines published on our website (www.fairtax.org) that “FairTax.org must not spend money directly or indirectly in support or opposition to a candidate.”

AFFT’s mission is to actively educate all members of the public and media, and all candidates for public office about the merits of H.R. 25, “The Fair Tax Act of 2011.” As such we prove information, briefing materials, public policy data and research to members of all political parties, the media and the public at large.

In 2007, then-presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was (and remains) a very vocal supporter of the FairTax.  As candidate Huckabee, he publicly stated, “Now I realize that the FairTax organization does not endorse candidates, but let me be very clear, I endorse you.”  In 2012, current presidential candidate Herman Cain has been and continues to be a very strong supporter of the FairTax.   AFFT will strive to educate all members of the public, including candidates for public office and their prospective constituents, on the FairTax in an endeavor to gain support for this public policy initiative.”

[Politico.com’s Article follows]

By KENDRA MARR

Americans for Fair Taxation, the national sales tax group, has decided to back Herman Cain.

Americans for Fair Taxation, the national sales tax group which mobilized in force to promote Mike Huckabee at the 2007 Ames straw poll, has determined that Herman Cain’s their favored candidate this year — but they won’t be providing the level of support that helped power Huckabee to a surprisingly strong second-place finish that year.

“It was a financial reason,” said Doug Frederickson, who is leading the group’s grass roots effort in Ames. “They weren’t sure that was money well spent.”

During the last presidential cycle, Americans for Fair Taxation reportedly spent $150,000 on the straw poll, busing in nearly 500 voting Iowans and 1,000 other supporters. And the organization nearly went broke financing campaigns to promote Huckabee’s support of their cause in the Iowa and South Carolina primaries.

For this year’s straw poll, the group expects to spend about $20,000 and bring more than 100 volunteers from Iowa and around the Midwest. It won’t be buying tickets or renting buses.

The group’s main goal is promoting the idea of replacing the federal income tax system with a national sales tax.

”AFFT has their own tent in Ames. Our volunteers will also be going to candidate’s tents to inform Straw Poll attendees of that candidate’s support for the Fair Tax. We are very pleased to be doing this for Mr. Cain and the candidates who support the Fair Tax,” said Americans for Fair Taxation national spokeswoman Cindy Canevaro.

Activists acknowledge that Gary Johnson also is a strong proponent of the “fair tax,” but they felt the former New Mexico governor isn’t as charismatic as Cain. They also like Michele Bachmann, who has more broadly advocated tax reform, but they’re disappointed that she hasn’t co-sponsored The Fair Tax Act in the House.

But Cain’s the favorite. “We’ll definitely have a presence in Herman Cain’s booth and help him wherever we can,” Frederickson said.

Huckabee himself has even acknowledged that Cain is the best candidate on the issue in the 2012 field.

“I hope there will be more candidates who embrace it,” Huckabee recently told POLITICO. “I know Herman Cain has embraced it. I’m not sure if any of the others have.”

Americans for Fair Taxation will kick off Ames weekend with a pre-debate tailgate featuring Iowa Rep. Steve King and the Sons of Liberty Riders, a motorcycle group that supports conservative causes.

At the straw poll, volunteers will have a booth where they’ll be handing out literature, T-shirts, water bottles, hats and fans.

“Those people really are the best spokespeople,” Frederickson said. “They are just regular folk. No one pays me to do this. But I do it because it’s the right thing.”

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