Executive Leadership

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Steven L. Hayes - Florida
Chairman & President

Steven L. Hayes graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas and the University of San Francisco Law School. As a self-described “recovering” tax attorney he spent considerable time and resources investigating alternatives to the income tax. Based on his research, including interviewing tax practitioners, business owners, employees and economists, he determined the best solution was to eliminate the income tax and the IRS and replace them with a national retail sales tax collected by the states. In 1990, Mr. Hayes joined and became President of Citizens For An Alternative Tax System (CATS), a non-profit 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, which was the 1st organization dedicated to the idea of replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax. He was also instrumental in forming the Florida FairTax® Educational Association, Inc., (FFETA) and currently serves on the FFETA board of directors. Hayes has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows, had numerous articles published in newspapers and magazines, and regularly speaks to groups of citizens around the country about why we must eliminate the income tax and the IRS and replace them with a national retail sales tax. Mr. Hayes has testified before the House Ways & Means Committee and former Congressman Jack Kemp’s Tax Reform Committee. He is widely sought after as a subject matter expert on tax reform panels and forums.

Jim Bennett - New Jersey
Grassroots Coordinator & Secretary

Jim Bennett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Lafayette College and a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. He also matriculated in graduate level international law at the New York University (NYU) Law School before serving in Germany as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the United States Army. He is currently a Deputy Attorney General for the state of NJ. Fluent in German, Bennett was stationed in Mannheim, Germany during his career in the U.S. Army. He later joined the insurance conglomerate Gerling-Konzern in Cologne Germany where he was named vice president upon returning to New York. Bennett was then named vice president and general counsel at the Colonia Insurance Group in New York. He started a private law practice in Summit, New Jersey in 1990, prior to his appointment with the state of NJ. Bennett is also a volunteer regional director of the PA, NY and NJ FAIRtax® associations, a member of the Board of FAIRtax® New Jersey. Bennett is a frequent tax reform commentator on local and national TV and radio programs and blogs and a prolific writer of opinion editorials and letters to the editor, having been published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times. A much sought after speaker, he serves as a guest lecturer at NYU and has discussed tax reform alternatives with representatives of the Chilean government.

John Grafer - Texas
Treasurer, Executive Committee & CEO, Club 535

John Grafer was elected to the AFFT Board of Directors in 2014. He is a member of Satori Capital's investment committee and a board member of FWT, Longhorn Health Solutions, and California Products Corporation. Prior to joining Satori in 2009, John was senior vice president of Giuliani Partners, an investment and consulting firm founded by former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Before joining Giuliani Partners in 2003, John was a member of the mergers and acquisitions group at Credit Suisse First Boston, a member of the proprietary trading group at J.P. Morgan Chase, and a team member at Ernst & Young, where he earned his C.P.A. John has also assisted a family office with early stage investments in sustainably managed companies including Honest Tea. John is a first-round judge for the McCloskey Business Plan competition at the University of Notre Dame. He received a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. John enjoys unique and adventurous challenges. He rode his bicycle from New York City to Montreal, earned his HAZMAT certification to remediate an anthrax-contaminated building, and survived The SEAL physical training course.