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REVIEW: Political ad misrepresents potential taxes on multi-million dollar IRA accounts


US Representative Brian Higgins is the target of the commercial that will air in the Buffalo Market.

BUFFALO, NY – An ad recently broadcast here on WGRZ caught the attention of a number of viewers.

Bob emailed: “You recently ran an ad on your network from a PAC claiming Liberals were stealing retirement (money) …”

Maryann texted us: “Could you please check if Liberals are trying to steal our retirement money?”

There are actually two spots that are broadcast on several television channels here in Buffalo. The advertiser is Common Sense Leadership Fund Inc.

Both ads start with talking about hard working people saving money for retirement, then in the middle of the bargain there is this: “But now the Washington Liberals want to tax your retirement funds to pay for their new trillion-dollar takeover. They call it progress, but it’s plain and simple theft. “

At the very end, viewers are asked to call US representative Brian Higgins to stop this.

So is there a plan in Washington to tax retirement accounts? We did that through our Verify process.

Our sources include the Federal Election Commission, the Open Secrets election surveillance group, the Lexus-Nexus public record search engine, the Virginia state government, The Hill news organization, and LinkedIn.

Since the ad doesn’t mention any specific bill in Congress, we first contacted the Common Sense Leadership Fund Inc. for clarification. The search for the organization turned out to be arduous.

The first stop was the Federal Electoral Commission. There was nothing on record. A press officer explains If the ad mentions a candidate within 30 days of a primary election and within 60 days of a general election, a report may be required. Since Higgins is not up for re-election until next year, no report to the FEC is required.

Likewise, Open Secrets had no record of the group on its website. Lexus-Nexus helped us narrow down our search and locate the organization in the state of Virginia. The Secretary of State’s office had records showing that the Common Sense Leadership Fund was set up in March this year and identified one contact, attorney Chris Ashby. Calls to Ashby’s law enforcement officer were not answered.

Then we came across an article from The Hill citing Kevin McLaughlin as the person running the organization. 2 On Your Side thinks that’s right because McLaughlin’s LinkedIn profile indicates he’s the president. But McLaughlin didn’t answer our calls either.


But we could put so much together without the help of Ashby and McLaughlin.

President Joe Biden made a $ 3.5 trillion bill for human infrastructure a priority. It’s part of what the president calls his “Build Back Better” effort for the nation. There are many expense items on the bill.

One idea floating around in Congress to pay for these expenses is to limit independent retirement accounts to a maximum of $ 10 million. There are Democratic party leaders who believe that ultra-rich individuals are using Roth IRAs as tax evaders.

Higgins is in favor of this aspect of funding the $ 3.5 trillion package, although the future of the bill is in doubt.

Now for the shared judgment on our Verify question.

We can confirm that the Democratic majority in Congress is in favor of taxing the IRA at over $ 10 million to pay for the $ 3.5 trillion expense.

But we must also classify the claim as false because the vast majority of American IRAs own well under $ 10 million.

If there is anything you need to verify, please email us at Verify@wgrz.com or text us at 716-849-2220.


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