April 29, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in support of legislation by U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) that will protect the confidential tax information of supporters of non-profit, tax-exempt groups from politically motivated disclosures by government officials:
“The proven politicization of both the Internal Revenue Service and state and federal Justice Departments make it imperative that Congress take action to deny these political prosecutors from the means to intimidate and potentially destroy their adversaries. One simple step is the elimination of the IRS requirement that donors to non-profit, tax exempt organizations be disclosed to the IRS at all.
“This disclosure serves no valid purpose, and in this increasingly hostile environment toward free speech, it is stifling. In California, state Attorney General Kamala Harris demanded that her office receive Schedule B information from a non-profit public policy adversary, and was rebuffed in U.S. District Court. Harris’ office had demonstrated a clear pattern of disclosing Schedule B donor information in violation of the law making the legal promise of privacy a myth in the once golden state.
“In NAACP v. Alabama, the Supreme Court decided decades ago that donor information to non-profit, tax-exempt groups must be shielded from public disclosure to avoid political and state intimidation. Now, in this increasingly hostile political environment, donors on either side of any policy issue need to be similarly shielded from harassment or even threats of violence.
“Americans for Limited Government urges Congress to pass legislation by Representative Peter Roskam which eliminates the reporting requirements of private donor information. One thing that the nation should have learned through the Lois Lerner IRS scandal is that no information is safe in the hands of motivated, partisan government employees, and the only way to prevent abuse is to deny them the information in the first place.
“Protecting the First Amendment right to political engagement trumps any bureaucratic desire to collect data, and Congress needs to put the Roskam First Amendment protection bill on the President’s desk as soon as possible.”
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