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General Counsel and Vice President, MENA
Republicans Overseas (RO) is a political organization created in 2013 for United States citizens who are living outside of 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 numbers of United States citizen residents. Similar to political action committees (PAC) 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.
In the summer of 2014, RO hosted Senator Mike Lee in London.
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, known as 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 the summer of 2017, RO hosted Senator Rand Paul in Rome.
In March 2019, Marc Zell met with Mayor Moshe Lion for RO's formal proposal of holding its October annual international conference for GOP representatives residing in 62 countries at Jerusalem.
In 2023, RO launched the Worldwide Freedom Initiative (WFI), the brainchild of Solomon Yue, Kerry McQuisten, and Randy Yaloz. The first WFI Summit is scheduled to be held in Paris, France, in November of 2023.
Republican Overseas is advised by its Advisory Committee, and operates under a Board of Governors, which includes:
Ambassador Michael G. DeSombre – Worldwide President (2013–2020)
Main article: 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 plaintiffs included 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. After initially condemning the Republican Overseas challenge of FATCA, Democrats Abroad shifted its position to support the repeal of FATCA.
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.
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."
Republicans Overseas has numerous chapters worldwide.