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Koch network launches effort to scuttle GOP tax plan that would help pay for border wall

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Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is launching a campaign to sink a border tax under consideration by Republican leaders in Congress, a move that could complicate the lawmakers’ efforts to find a way to pay for President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded by Charles Koch and his brother David, plans to use its network of wealthy political donors and activists to kill the proposal, which aims to raise $1.2 trillion over 10 years on goods coming into the United States, according to officials from the group, which gathered this weekend for a conference.

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Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing the tax as part of a broader overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

The White House has given mixed signals on whether Trump supports the approach, but proponents say revenue collected from the border tax could finance Trump’s drive to build a wall along the southwestern U.S. border. Proponents also say it would discourage U.S. manufacturers from moving abroad.

On Thursday, AFP sent a letter expressing its opposition to the border tax to a House panel in charge of writing tax legislation.

AFP Chief Executive Officer Luke Hilgemann, in an interview, called the measure “a massive tax increase” on U.S. consumers, who would pay more for foreign goods. He urged Ryan to “go back to the drawing board.”

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AFP and its offshoot organizations have become a powerful force in U.S. politics, bolstering candidates and issues on federal and state levels.

Besides defying Republican leaders on the border tax, the Koch-led organization on Sunday challenged Trump on a policy he implemented on Friday to stop the movement of people from countries with large Muslim populations from traveling to the United States.

“The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive,” said an official of the Koch network.

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Koch refused to endorse Trump during his presidential campaign, differing with the candidate over his positions on immigration and trade policy, and his practice of singling out companies for possible retribution if they move jobs abroad.

Nevertheless, Hilgemann said AFP had a “developing relationship” with the Trump White House, which he said had reached out to his organization to discuss some policy matters.

At the same time, former AFP officials have landed high-level jobs in the Trump administration, giving the group a conduit for airing its policy wishes.

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Looking toward the 2018 congressional and gubernatorial elections, AFP officials said they planned to boost the network’s spending on policy and political activities to between $300 million and $400 million, up from an estimated $250 million for the 2016 campaigns.

Hilgemann also said AFP was laying plans to mobilize activists to help win Senate confirmation of Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court nominee. The White House said Trump was planning this week to announce his pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Wall Street Journal drops a truth-bomb on Trump over his market-destroying trade war: ‘Everyone loses’

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In yet another blast from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors looked back at Friday's stock market free fall and pointed the finger directly at President Donald Trump and his "trade-war general" Peter Navarro for being the main culprits.

After Friday's disastrous stock market session that took a major downturn due to the escalation of the trade war -- with China and Trump ordering billions of dollars in new tariffs -- the Journal pointed out that there will be no winners.

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G7 off to a rough start as Trump aides slam host Macron’s agenda

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With President Donald Trump at the latest G7 summit, all eyes are on the interactions between him and French President Emmanuel Macron. The two world leaders started off amicably, exchanging pleasantries, but behind the scenes, things have grown contentious.

According to Politico, Trump officials are railing against Macron, accusing him of trying to "fracture" the summit by steering the negotiations away from trade and into areas like climate change.

This development comes after Trump harshly criticized Macron for enacting a tax on digital services, which could increase costs for American tech companies like Google and Facebook. Trump threatened that if France does not suspend its "unfair" digital tax, "we'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before." It is a threat that Trump has made repeatedly over the last few weeks whenever he has gotten angry at France.

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A likely recession could doom Trump

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President Donald Trump is worried that there will be a recession before the 2020 election. For once, he is right about something.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well. Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession," Trump tweeted on Friday in a clear attempt to assuage concerns. "They are willing to lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election. But it won’t work because I always find a way to win, especially for the people!"

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