Refuse to Pay Voluntary Payments As Well As Taxes?

Very occasionally, I’ve heard of tax resistance or tax resistance-like campaigns who have threatened to withhold certain non-governmental, voluntary payments as well.

For example, the Women’s Freedom League, at the same time its sister society the Women’s Tax Resistance League was refusing to pay taxes so long as women were not permitted to vote for their political representatives, resolved “that Suffragists refuse subscriptions to churches and organised charitable institutions till the vote is granted, with a view to women making their power felt and to show the difference their withdrawal from religious and social work would make.”

And last year, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, announced that he and the heads of a hundred other large companies had pledged to withhold campaign contributions from political candidates “until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing.” As the ongoing “fiscal cliff” foofaraw shows, no such deal was reached. I looked up a handful of the signers of this pledge at to see if they’d held to their vow, and it was not very encouraging. Whole Foods chief Walter Robb, for instance, donated $5,000 to the Democratic National Committee about ten months after signing the pledge. Tim Armstrong of AOL donated $30,000 to the Republican National Committee , along with additional contributions to a senatorial candidate and to Mitt Romney’s campaign. Mickey Drexler of J Crew donated to several Democratic Party organizations this year. Campaign organizer Howard Schultz himself couldn’t resist the temptation to drop $1,000 into Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s campaign bucket.

However another clever fellow came up with a plan to get money out of politics. Dubbed Repledge, it works like this:

We connect individual contributors who agree to transform their political contributions into charitable donations if a supporter of the opposing political candidate matches the contribution.

This way, people can divert their political contributions to more useful purposes without feeling that they’re thereby empowering even worse politicians than they ones they had been intending to feed.