Republicans Overseas (RO) is a political organization, created in 2013, for United States citizens who are living outside the United States. RO is recognized by the Republican National Committee (RNC), and by other affiliated groups, such as College Republicans. It operates in the majority of countries around the world where there are large number of United States citizen residents. Similar to political action committees and Super Pacs; RO is a 527 political organization that operates as a corporation with specific interests of repealing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and of generally representing Republicans living overseas.
The stated mission of Republicans Overseas is “To inspire the nine million Americans living overseas to engage more fully in the U.S. democratic political process through the provision of briefings, policy research and advocacy.”
Republicans Overseas was established on September 18, 2013 as a 527 political organization and incorporated as a (C4) NPO on January 1, 2014. RO has no connection to the former Republicans Abroad, though, globally, many of its chapters have migrated from it to Republicans Overseas, following the 2013 demise of its international organization. Significant events in the history of the organization include:
On January 24, 2014, the RNC passed a resolution to repeal FATCA which had been authored by Republicans Overseas.
On September 10, 2014, RO hosted Governor Rick Perry in Beijing.
The RNC passed a “resolution opposing OECD’s global reporting standards” on January 16, 2015, authored by RO.
On April 14, 2015, RO proposed a repeal of FATCA and an end to citizen-based taxation to the Senate Finance Committee, then, on July 14, filed lawsuit Crawford v. U.S. Department of Treasury with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to repeal FATCA. On September 26, plaintiffs demonstrated outside of the U. S. Embassy in London.
RO submitted a proposal to repeal FATCA and to replace CBT with (since named) Territorial taxation for Individuals to the House Ways and Means Committee, on March 22, 2016,
On April 26, 2016, Judge Thomas M. Rose dismissed the RO’s FATCA lawsuit on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to pursue the suit.
RO Israel hosted a major rally in support of the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign on October 26, 2016 the Jerusalem Forever Event.
On January 6, 2017, RO submitted a proposal on Territorial Taxation for Individuals to the House Ways and Means Committee.
RO UK hosted an inauguration event for President Trump on January 20, 2017
In March 2019, Marc Zell met with Mayor Moshe Lion for RO’s formal proposal of holding, in October, its annual international conference for GOP representatives residing in 62 countries at Jerusalem.
Republican Overseas is advised by its Advisory Committee, and operates under a Board of Governors, which includes:
- Bruce Ash – co-founder and chairman; Republican National Conservative Caucus chairman; Conservative Steering Committee founding member; Standing Rules Committee, member and past chairman; Arizona delegate, 2016 Republican National Convention; CEO, ACW American Properties
- Solomon Yue, Jr. – co-founder, vice-chairman and CEO; Republican National Conservative Caucus co-founder; Republican Conservative Steering Committee co-founder; Grassfire Strategic Planning and Management Group president; vice-chairman of three PACs; member, RNC Standing Committee on Rules
- Michael G. DeSombre – co-founder, global president, and Hong Kong chairman; Save the Children Hong Kong chairman; partner of Sullivan & Cromwell (Asia-Pacific mergers and acquisitions)
- Marc Zell – General Counsel and vice-president, Mideast; Zell, Aron & Co. partner
- Randall Pullen – treasurer; past chairman of the Arizona Republican Party; past treasurer, Arizona Housing Finance Authority; past chairman, Board of American National Radio Corporation; WageWatch Inc. president and CEO
- Mike Duncan – senior advisor; past RNC chairman; past RNC General Counsel; Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service chairman; past President’s Commission on White House Fellows member; American Crossroads (527 Super PAC) founding chairman
- Cindy Costa – secretary; RNC vice-chairman for the southern region; vice-chair of the RNC Committee on Rules; Republican Speaker’s Circle member
- Stephen Yates – Idaho Republican Party chairman; past Deputy National Security Adviser to the Vice President; presidential campaign advisor; DC International Advisory CEO
- Ellen L. Barrosse – RNC Conservative Steering Committee chair
Leadership also includes Vice Presidents specific to geographic areas, such as Asia and Europe, including, among others:
- Russ Walker – COO
- James Gosart – Global Executive Vice President
- Mark Crawford – Global Vice President for Legislative Affairs
- Molly Byrne – Political Director
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
Repealing FATCA is the leading priority for Republicans Overseas. Supporting this focus, the RNC, during their January 2014 RNC Winter meeting, passed a resolution to repeal FATCA with overwhelming support. Additionally, in August 2014, the RNC unanimously passed a resolution supporting Residence Based Taxation, and another resolution Opposing OECD’s Global FATCA Common Reporting Standards in January 2015.
RO views FATCA as violating fundamental constitutional rights of overseas U.S. citizens. The law was passed by a Democratic controlled Congress in 2010, lacking a single House Republican vote, and only 11 Senate Republican votes. The United States being the only country that taxes its citizens living abroad indefinitely, many Americans are now denied banking privileges throughout the world because foreign financial institutions cannot justify enduring increased compliance costs due to new regulations, and refuse to be proxy agents for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). FATCA has faced considerable criticism, including from Democrats Abroad, the official expatriate wing of the Democratic Party. A lawsuit fighting against FATCA, Crawford v. U.S. Department of Treasury, with eight counts of constitutional violations, was filed on July 14, 2015 by Republican Overseas Action (ROA), a 501(C)(4) organization of RO. The lawsuit currently has ten plaintiffs, including ex-2016 presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul. Democrats Abroad condemned ROA’s FATCA lawsuit, specifically Senator Paul and James Bopp, Jr., the lawsuit’s lead attorney. The RNC released a statement supporting RO and this legal undertaking. On April 26, 2017 the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing to review the unintended consequences of FATCA, which included testimony from Paul and Bopp, as well as Mark Crawford, Daniel Kuettel, Elise Bean and video testimony from Donna-Lane Nelson.
Although Republicans Overseas, as an organization, focuses primarily on the repeal of FATCA, some of its members, including chairman Bruce Ash and vice-chairman Solomon Yue, serve on the rules committee of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In that capacity Ash and Yue have advocated positions that go beyond the primary mission of Republicans Overseas, for example advocating for the candidacy of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Ash, in particular, is not only the chairman of Republicans Overseas, but also the chairman of the rules committee of the RNC.
Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act
The Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act of 2018 (TFFAAA) was introduced just prior to the closing of the 115th Congress by Congressman George Holding (R-NC). Slated to be read in 2019 by the 116th Congress; the bi-partisan bill proposes a change from citizenship-based to residency-based taxation for nonresident citizens by amending the IRS Code of 1986. Republicans Overseas has been a key supporter of the TFFAAA, hosting Congressman Holding on April 24, 2019 in the UK, at a members’ informational seminar led by Holding and Solomon Yue. RO co-founder Yue is quoted as saying that “The TFFAAA will amend the Internal Revenue Code by offering overseas Americans a status similar to that enjoyed by corporations where foreign-sourced income is taxed in the country where it is earned.”
UK – Republicans Overseas UK is the largest international chapter of Republicans Overseas. The UK Republicans Overseas also has sub-chapters in Scotland and Oxford, England. The current chair of Republicans Overseas UK is Sarah Elliott.
France – Republicans Overseas France (ROF) is the second largest international chapter of Republicans Overseas. ROF operates concurrently as Republicans Abroad France and is present throughout the French speaking world. The current chair of Republicans Overseas France is Dr. Marc Porter.
Germany – Republicans Overseas Germany (ROG) is another international chapter of Republicans Overseas. Along with Republicans Overseas Switzerland, the chapter operates within the German speaking world. The current chair of Republicans Overseas Germany is Kerry Reddington.
- “About Republicans Overseas”. Republicans Overseas. Facebook. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- RNC Summer Meeting, Nashville, TN August 26, 2017
- “About Republicans Overseas”. republicansoverseas.com. Republicans Overseas. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
- Cooper, Kent (September 25, 2013). “Republicans Overseas Inc. Established to Speak on Public Policy”. Roll Call. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- “Confidential FATCA Legal Action Fund Contribution Form”. Republican Overseas. Abolish FATCA. Archived from the original on August 8, 2017.
- Republicans Overseas timeline
- “Republicans Overseas Israel to Hold International Convention in Jerusalem”, by Hana Levi Julian; March 6, 2019.
- “Leadership”; Republicans Overseas website. Accessed April 15, 2019.
- “Resolution to Repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)” (PDF). Republican National Committee. GOP. January 24, 2014.
- “Resolution Supporting “Residence Based Taxation““ (PDF). Republican National Committee. GOP. August 8, 2014.
- “Resolution Opposing OECD’s Global FACTA Common Reporting Standards” (PDF). Republican National Committee. GOP. January 16, 2015.
- “Petition to Congress of the United States to Abolish the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)”. Republicans Overseas. Abolish FATCA. Archived from the original on Oct 18, 2017.
- “House Vote #991 in 2009”. govtrack.us. December 16, 2009.
- Bachmann, Helena (January 31, 2013). “Mister Taxman: Why Some Americans Working Abroad Are Ditching Their Citizenships”. Time. Time Inc. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- Hallow, Ralph (January 15, 2014). “RNC to join Rand Paul’s fight to protect privacy of Americans overseas”. The Washington Times. The Washington Times, LLC. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- “FATCA & FBAR: Two Big headaches for Americans Abroad”, Democrats Abroad.
- “Crawford et al v. United States Department of the Treasury et al”. Justia Dockets & Filings. Justia. July 14, 2015.
- Goulder, Robert (September 16, 2015). “Litigating FATCA: Rand Paul And Financial Privacy”. Forbes. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- Montgomery, Alex (July 7, 2015). “Democrats Abroad Condemns Rand Paul’s Legal Challenge to Law Targetting Tax Evaders”. Democrats Abroad.
- Priebus, Reince (July 17, 2015). “RNC Statement on Republicans Overseas Action Lawsuit”. RNC Press Releases. Republican National Committee. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- “Reviewing the Unintended Consequences of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act”. April 26, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- Hallow, Ralph (June 29, 2016). “Republican rules chairman aims to lock in Donald Trump as nominee”. Washington Times. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- “Congressman Holding to discuss US Citizenship Based Taxation in London”; April 3, 2019.
- “Read Congressman Holding’s “Fair Taxation for Americans Abroad Act” Submitted to the U.S. House” by Stephen Kish; The Isaac Brock Society; December 20, 2018.
- Sundstrom, Malise (June 30, 2017). “Republicans Overseas UK Appoints New Chair!”. Republicans Overseas UK. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- “Internationales”. TV5Monde. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- “CHAIRMAN MESSAGE”. Republicans Overseas. Retrieved April 15, 2019.