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JA's Political Action Committee Meets With Congressional Leaders

Jun 24, 2014 11:09 AM   By JA
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Press Release: The Jewelers of America (JA) political action committee continues to grow its legislative influence on Capitol Hill, as the group led a delegation of jewelers to Washington, D.C., for the fourth consecutive year. The day of meetings offered jewelers the unique opportunity to share their views with key decision makers on the Hill, including House Speaker John Boehner (Republican from Ohio), who made an unscheduled visit with the group, and Senator Jack Reed (Democrat from Rhode Island), a member of the U.S. Senate Committees on Appropriations; Armed Services; and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; who joined the group for dinner. The meetings – which connected jewelers with approximately 60 lawmakers and legislative staff – took place on Wednesday, June 18. political action committee

Discussion centered on sales tax fairness legislation, which would level the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar businesses. The group met with key supporters, including Reed, a co-sponsor of the Marketplace Fairness Act – which passed the Senate last year. During a lunch with House Republicans, including representatives Pete Sessions (Texas), the chairman of the House Rules Committee, and  Jason Chaffetz (Utah), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the tone was decidedly in favor of pushing through a House sales tax fairness bill. Jewelers were encouraged that Chaffetz, along with House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (Virginia), is leading the House’s work on sales tax fairness legislation.

“I think there’s a chance we can get it done,” Representative Steve Stivers (Ohio), a staunch supporter of the Marketplace Fairness Act, told the group. While that bill stalled in the House, Goodlatte and Chaffetz are expected to introduce a modified version of the legislation later this year.

The discussion underlined the need for jewelers to stay proactive on sales tax fairness and other key issues, which they can do through JA’s online advocacy center at

JA's president, David Bonaparte, said, “With the midterm elections approaching, this is a key moment for jewelers to be heard. Jewelers of America is actively engaged with lawmakers regarding the needs of jewelers and bringing our members to Capitol Hill for these face-to-face meetings with their representatives truly gets the message across.”

In addition to Bonaparte, the group included JA's director of public affairs and education, Susan Thea Posnock, and JA members and board members.

Besides e-fairnesss, discussions also centered on the protection of LIFO – the last-in, first-out accounting method.  LIFO repeal is an attractive revenue raising option for some legislators and the Obama administration, which has repeatedly sought repeal.

Jewelers also discussed extension of the 15-year leasehold improvement depreciation. Currently, improvements made to retail stores must be depreciated over 39 years. JA supports inclusion of the 15-year depreciation provision in a retroactive tax extenders package, expected to be taken up by Congress after the November midterm elections. In the long-term, the association believes the provision should be made permanent as part of overall tax reform. 

The meetings were part of a day long agenda that included morning presentations from political strategists from both sides of the aisle. Two JA political action committee fundraising events were also organized by JA’s D.C.-based legislative counsel, Haake & Associates.

JA political action committee board members on the trip included:
> Ryan Berg of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in San Antonio, Texas (vice chair of JA's board);
> Jon Bridge of Ben Bridge Jeweler in Seattle, Washington;
> Scot Congress of Congress Jewelers in Sanibel, Florida (JA board member);
> Jeff Corey of Day’s Jewelers in Waterville, Maine; and
> Bill Farmer Jr. of Farmer’s Jewelers in Lexington, Kentucky (JA's board chairman);

Other JA members included:
> Jenny Caro of Jewelry by Design in Woodbridge, Virginia (JA board member);
> Joe Corey of Day’s Jewelers in Manchester, New Hampshire;
> Missy Krause of Signet Jewelers Ltd. in Akron, Ohio; 
> Brian Mann of David Mann Jewelers in Potomac, Maryland (JA board member); and
> Robert F. Moeller II of R.F. Moeller Jeweler in St. Paul, Minnesota (JA board member).

JA's political action committee is the only lobby that supports the fine jewelry industry in Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit

About Jewelers of America:
Jewelers of America (JA) is the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, with the primary purpose of improving consumer confidence in the jewelry industry. JA’s consumer education arm, Jewelry Information Center (JIC), has provided public relations and marketing services on behalf of the fine jewelry and watch industry since 1946. Visit and  for more information.



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Tags: capitol hill, ja, Jewelers of America, legislation, lobbying, political action committee, tax fairness
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