The Wall Street Journal's Disclosure Problem Continues

NFIB Member Quoted Criticizing Tax Increase That Organization Lobbied Against


The Wall Street Journal failed to disclose that a small business owner it quoted to criticize President Obama's proposal to raise marginal tax rates on high-income earners is affiliated with the National Federation of Independent Business -- which is opposed to the tax rate increase.

The Journal faced criticism during the election when it failed on many occasions to disclose the affiliations of political operatives like Karl Rove and the affiliation of many former Romney campaign advisers when they wrote about the presidential and congressional campaigns.

In a Friday article, the Journal suggested that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners would adversely affect small businesses. A Journal report on deficit negotiations stated: "Small businesses are more sensitive to personal tax rates--the rates at which many are taxed, via their owners' personal returns. That helps explain why small business is more closely aligned than big business with the GOP opposition to raising personal tax rates for anyone."

However, experts maintain that only a tiny fraction -- about 3 percent -- of small businesses will be affected by the expiration of tax cuts on income above $250,000. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained that the overly broad definition of small businesses in these tax discussions includes large corporate law practices, accounting firms, and wealthy investors in financial and real-estate partnerships -- not what many people may consider to be small businesses.

The small business owner quoted by the Journal to substantiate this false claim, Albert Marce, and his business, are both members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) -- but the Journal failed to disclose this. According to the NFIB's website, the Triple Play Café became a member of NFIB in 2009 and its part-owner Macre is "also owner of an NFIB member accounting practice."

NFIB, closely aligned with the Republican Party, has in the past actively opposed both the health care reform law and increases in the minimum wage. NFIB also helped finance a misleading study that claimed that 700,000 jobs would be lost if the marginal tax rate on the wealthiest Americans increased. It is currently lobbying against allowing the expiration of tax cuts for those making over $250,000.

Posted In
Economy, Ethics
The Wall Street Journal
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