Kornhauser recounts the legislation which enacted in 1934 required all income taxpayers to submit "pink slips" with their tax returns. The information required by the pink slip would then be made available for public inspection. The disclosure regime was repealed less than one year later, largely through the remarkably effective efforts of one person--Raymond Pitcairn, a wealthy lawyer. She describes a multifaceted public-relations campaign, orchestrated by Pitcairn, that would be sophisticated even by today's standards. Two aspects of Pitcairn's campaign were especially impressive. The first was his ability to enlist the zeitgeist in his efforts; the trial of Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby was proceeding as Pitcairn was advocating repeal of the disclosure requirement, and Pitcairn argued effectively that the disclosure requirement would encourage additional kidnappings. The second was his ability to convince Congress and the public that repeal was in the interests of the "common man," despite the inconvenient fact that the income tax applied to less than ten percent of the population.
Marjorie E. Kornhauser,
Shaping Public Opinion and the Law: How a “Common Man” Campaign Ended a Rich Man’s Law,
73 Law and Contemporary Problems
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol73/iss1/6