American Council for Capital Formation

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American Council for Capital Formation
American Council for Capital Formation-Logo-1.jpg
Formation 1975; 43 years ago (1975)
Founder Charls Walker
Founded at Washington, DC
52-0991278[1]
Purpose capital gains tax reduction
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
President
Mark A. Bloomfield
Executive Vice President
George David Banks
Website http://accf.org/

The American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) is an American think tank founded in 1975 by Charls Walker.[2] It is located on the District of Columbia's Connecticut Avenue.[3] Mark Bloomfeld and George "David" Banks serve as its president and executive vice president, respectively.

The group lobbied for the Revenue Act of 1978, which cut capital gains taxes. The council supports ending the ban on crude oil exports and a flexible approach to the regulation of greenhouse gases. The council describes itself as nonpartisan,[4] while journalists generally describe its positions as "free market"[5][6] or "pro-business."[7][8]

History[edit]

The council was founded in 1975 as the American Council on Capital Gains and Estate Taxation. Charls Walker founded the council and acted as its first chairman. Seed money for the Council was provided by the Weyerhaeuser Company, a logging concern, and the National Forest Products Association; timber firms were at that time particularly affected by the capital gains tax.[9]

Issues[edit]

Revenue Act of 1978[edit]

In 1978, Democratic President Jimmy Carter announced his intention to pass tax reform legislation. That year, the ACCF set up a meeting between William A. Steiger, a Wisconsin congressman, and Ed Zschau, an electronics entrepreneur from California. Persuaded by Zschau's case that the doubling of capital gains taxes between 1969 and 1976 had badly hurt his industry, Steiger put legislation in motion to reset the tax to 1968 levels. The ACCF spoke in support Steiger's measure.[10]

Carter opposed the measure, but by mid-1978 realized that he lacked the political support to defeat it, given widespread popular anger at high taxes and broad support by both parties.[11] The tax cut bill (the Revenue Act of 1978) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 362-49[12] and was signed into law by President Carter.[11]

Analyzing the Revenue Act in his 2008 book The Rise of the Counter-establishment, Democratic activist Sidney Blumenthal was sharply critical of the act, arguing that the bill created no actual growth. Walker argued at the time that the bill had spared the economy from a sharper downturn, and reflected a new bipartisan consensus in favor of capital formation: "'You put the question this way: Do you think that American business is putting enough money into new machinery? And they say no. There it is.'"[13]

Crude oil exports[edit]

The council supported ending the ban on export of crude oil from the United States. Margo Thorning of the ACCF said in response to the refusal of President Barack Obama's administration to lift the ban: "The world has changed tremendously since the ban on crude oil exports was put in place over 40 years ago. That is nowhere more evident than in the transformation of our nation's energy landscape from one of scarcity to one of abundance."[14] The Council hosted two policy briefings on Capitol Hill against the crude oil export ban in 2015 - one in May with Senator John Hoeven and the other in November with Senator Cory Gardner.[15][16]

Climate change[edit]

The council's position on climate change is that "because energy use and economic growth go hand in hand, policymakers should develop a flexible, long-term approach to reducing the growth of greenhouse gases. This requires a global effort based on technological innovation and technology transfer to developing countries where greenhouse gas emissions growth is most rapid."[17]

While the ACCF is skeptical of climate policies and regulations that impose significant costs on the U.S. economy, the Council does not reject climate-related science. ACCF economist Margo Thorning supported the Energy Tax Prevention Act in 2011 and 2012. This bill would have reversed a Supreme Court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency has authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. In Congressional testimony, Thorning stated that the regulation of greenhouse gases "makes little economic or environmental sense."[18] In 2015, the ACCF joined with an alliance of oil lobbyists and environmental groups to oppose the federal ethanol mandate.[6] In 2017, ACCF’s Vice President of Policy and General Counsel, Timothy M. Doyle released a paper criticizing New York City's decision to divest $5 billion of its pension fund from fossil fuels.[19]

The council also disagrees with policies that would restrict the export of fossil energy. In 2015, Banks wrote, "Some people, particularly environmentalists, will claim that the United States should not export fossil energy because of climate mitigation concerns. While climate change is a problem that the world needs to address, cutting off U.S. exports of fossil fuels is not the answer. In fact, pursuing such an action only reduces the amount of affordable and reliable energy available to global markets for economic development and poverty eradication efforts, increasing the scarcity of energy resources and worsening related competition between nation states."[20]

Proxy Advisers[edit]

In 2018, Timothy M. Doyle, Vice President of Policy and General Counsel of the ACCF, released a report criticizing the growing role of proxy advisers in finance and supporting bipartisan legislation requiring them to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and disclose conflicts of interest.[21]

Leadership[edit]

Charls Walker[edit]

Walker was the council's first chairman. He served the administration of President Richard M. Nixon as undersecretary of the treasury from 1969 to 1972 and as deputy secretary of the same department in 1973 under John Connally. Walker was born in Texas and educated at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received an undergraduate degree and an MBA. He took a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Walker was a professor, Federal Reserve staffer, and banking executive for brief periods before becoming executive vice president of the American Bankers Association in 1961. He retained that position until 1969 when he left to work under Nixon.[22] Walker started consulting after leaving the Nixon administration.[23]

Mark Bloomfield[edit]

Mark A. Bloomfield is the president and CEO of the council.[24][25] After working on Ronald Reagan's first presidential campaign, Bloomfield became involved with ACCF after meeting Charls Walker while working as an aide on the House Ways and Means Committee.[25] Walker and Bloomfield later co-authored the book Intellectual Property Rights and Capital Formation in the Next Decade (University Press of America, 1988).[26]

Bloomfield is known for the monthly dinners he holds for members of Congress, business leaders, and journalists. He has been holding these dinners for almost thirty years. Senator Joseph Lieberman called them "Washington's last salon", and Senator John E. Sununu stated that they gave politicians from opposing parties a chance to meet and have "substantive discussions".[25]

George David Banks[edit]

George "David" Banks serves as executive vice president at the ACCF.[27] Before his position at ACCF, Banks was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush on international climate change[28] and then a deputy director of the nuclear energy program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.[29] In 2017, he served as Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment at the National Economic and National Security Councils in the administration of President Donald Trump.[30]

At ACCF, Banks has been a strong advocate for energy free trade and constructive U.S. engagement with China. "China-bashing in the context of U.S. energy policymaking will only cause Beijing to become more stubborn in the South China Sea and more aggressive in locking up energy supplies around the globe,” he wrote in November 2015.[31] He has also been critical of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), writing in The Washington Times in February 2016 that "The RFS has plagued the country for years by jacking up food and fuel costs. What’s more, it’s outdated and offers zero environmental benefits. Congress should nix this standard before it wreaks more havoc on the country."[32]

In 2018, Banks spoke in support of the Paris climate agreement, calling it "a good Republican agreement".[30]

Funding[edit]

The council is funded by contributions from foundations, corporations, trade associations, and individuals. But declines to be more specific.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "American Council for Capital Formation". Propublica. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Company Profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Contact." ACCF website.
  4. ^ Bloomfeld, Mark. "When a tax cut isn't a tax cut." The Hill. September 13, 2011.
  5. ^ Eilperin, Juliet. "U.S. Joins Informal Talks on Warming". The Washington Post. December 20, 2005.
  6. ^ a b Henry, Devin. "Anti-ethanol group expands national ad buy." The Hill. November 10, 2015.
  7. ^ DeMarban, Alex. "Think tank: State needs to support Alaska LNG, drop stand-alone pipeline". Alaska Dispatch News. August 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Cowan, Edward. "The Quiet Campaign to Cut Capital Gains Taxes--To Zero." The New York Times. April 12, 1981.
  9. ^ Berman, Elizabeth Popp. Creating the Market University. Princeton, 2012. p. 198.
  10. ^ Vogel, David. Fluctuating Fortunes: The Political Power of Business in America. Beard Books, 2003. p. 175.
  11. ^ a b Kuttner, Robert. The Economic Illusion: False Choices Between Prosperity and Social Justice. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987. pp. 52-53.
  12. ^ Francis, Samuel. "Update on the Revenue Act of 1978". The Heritage Foundation. August 22, 1978.
  13. ^ Blumenthal, Sidney (2008). The Rise of the Counter-establishment: The Conservative Ascent to Political Power. Union Square Press. p. 73. 
  14. ^ Snow, Nick. "White House not inclined to end crude oil export ban, official says" Oil & Gas Journal. September 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "ACCF Hosts Congressional Briefing on Crude Oil Exports and Trade Policy". ACCF. May 20, 2015.
  16. ^ McCoy, Shawn. Gardner: Lifting Ban on Oil Exports This Year Would Ease Tensions. Inside Sources. November 28, 2015.
  17. ^ ACCF homepage
  18. ^ Baer, Hans; Singer, Merrill (24 April 2014). The Anthropology of Climate Change: An Integrated Critical Perspective. United States: Routledge. ISBN 1317817672. 
  19. ^ Muoio, Danielle. "Divesting from Big Oil a tough sell — even in the bluest cities and states." Politico. March 7, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Starling, Rosalie."ACCF highlights impact of energy trade policies on national security". Hydrocarbon Engineering. July 16, 2015.
  21. ^ Critchley, Barry. "U.S. proxy report proves timely." Financial Post. May 2, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Bart Barnes (29 June 2015). "Charls E. Walker, tax lobbyist for GOP and big business, dies at 91". Washington Post. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Charls Walker, Treasury Official and Business Lobbyist, Is Dead at 91". The New York Times. 3 July 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Mark A. Bloomfield." ACCF.
  25. ^ a b c Kaplan, Jonathan E. "The ambassador: Mark Bloomfield." The Hill. July 26, 2005.
  26. ^ ISBN 978-0819168849
  27. ^ "George 'David' Banks." ACCF.
  28. ^ Burita, Mike. "ACCF welcomes George “David” Banks as Executive Vice President". ACCF. January 29, 2015.
  29. ^ "Former White House Advisor on Environmental Quality George "David" Banks Joins CSIS". Center for Strategic & International Studies. April 15, 2013.
  30. ^ a b Friedman, Lisa. "Former Trump Aide Calls Paris Climate Accord ‘a Good Republican Agreement’". The New York Times. February 22, 2018. Accessed May 11, 2018.
  31. ^ Dlouhy, Jennifer A. China keeping an eye on surging U.S. oil and gas production. The Houston Chronicle. November 5, 2015.
  32. ^ Banks, George David. "Renewable Fuel Standard deceit". The Washington Times. February 8, 2016.

External links[edit]