Warren Buffett to Match Republicans’ Tax Donations

Jan 12, 2012 12:36pm
gty warren buffett jp 120112 wblog Warren Buffett to Match Republicans Tax Donations

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Billionaire Warren Buffett said he will match voluntary tax contributions from Republican members of Congress, and triple that of the Senate Republican leader, Time magazine reported.

In regards to paying less in taxes than those worse off, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in September said if Buffett “is feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check.”

The CEO of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, who is worth $39 billion according to Forbes,  has long advocated for the rich to contribute a larger share of the country’s tax revenue. He wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in August 2011 regarding tax policy such as advocating for higher taxes on capital gains.

That month, President Obama proposed a plan to reduce the deficit with spending cuts and tax increases on millionaires, dubbed the Buffett Rule.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) then introduced the “Buffett Rule Act” in October, an option on tax forms allowing the wealthy to donate more in taxes to reduce the deficit.

Buffett told Time for this week’s cover story that he will match Republicans’ voluntary contributions.

“And I’ll even go three for one for McConnell,” Buffett said.

McConnell is reportedly worth at least $10 million, Time reports.

“Sen. McConnell says that Washington should be smaller, rather than taxes getting bigger,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Sen. McConnell, told Time. “And since some, like President Obama and Mr. Buffett, want to pay higher taxes, Congress made it possible for them to call their own bluff and send in a check. So I look forward to Mr. Buffett matching a healthy batch of checks from those who actually want to pay higher taxes, including Congressional Democrats, the President and the DNC.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. McConnell had no further comment.

Buffett is not the first wealthy individual to pledge a match with members of Congress.

The Patriotic Millionaires agreed in the spring of 2011 to match any pledge made by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the U.S. Treasury.

In April 2011, Hatch said “all those rich, liberal democrats who are eager to pay higher taxes can do just that. They can write a check to the IRS and make an extra payment on their tax return to pay down the federal debt. The option is right there at the bottom of their tax return.”

 

After the Millionaires sent him a letter explaining they would match his contributions to the IRS, he responded with a letter.

“To our knowledge, the Senator has not yet made such a contribution,” Erica Payne, a spokeswoman for the Patriotic Millionaires told ABC News.

“Given the Honorable Senator’s unwillingness to aid his country voluntarily, it seems doubtful that his plan to save the country through voluntary contributions will be successful,” the Patriotic Millionaires said in a statement. “Nevertheless, we stand – checkbooks at the ready – for the moment the Senator contributes to solving our fiscal problems.  If he is running short on cash, perhaps he could look to his campaign war chest for additional funds.”

Sen. Hatch’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

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