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CEI Joins Coalition Letter Supporting the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act

Coalition Letters

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CEI Joins Coalition Letter Supporting the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act

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Dear Congressman Roskam,

On behalf of millions of taxpayers across America, we write to endorse the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, H.R. 4916, and urge its swift passage. 

This important legislation, an identical version of which was passed by the House of Representatives last year, will help prevent future Internal Revenue Service (IRS) abuse and protect First Amendment freedoms of speech and association by eliminating the Schedule B form for 501(c) organizations that contain sensitive identifiable information on contributors to those 501(c) organizations. 

As acknowledged by the IRS itself, Schedule B information is inapplicable to the legally permissible handling of 501(c) organization tax filings.  Eliminating Schedule B will not only make tax compliance easier, but also help limit the ability of the IRS and others, including state officials with access to the information, to chill free speech and civic participation among the public. 

As you are well aware, First Amendment free speech and association rights have come under assault in recent years, with the IRS at the center of the misbehavior.  In multiple high-profile confirmed cases, the IRS has leaked sensitive, private Schedule B information that it had no right or business making public. 

As only one example, the agency agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) after an IRS official provided NOM's Schedule B to the adversarial organization Human Rights Campaign, which proceeded to publish it.  Revelations of leaked information, in addition to instances in which the IRS targeted organizations on the basis of perceived ideology, policy positions and names to deny or delay approval of nonprofit legal status, demonstrate that the threat to freedoms of speech, association and petitioning of government are all too real. 

Congress must therefore take this opportunity as tax reform begins to strengthen First Amendment protections and prevent future IRS abuse, given the agency's established record of negligent oversight and outright abuse of power.  The Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act would address those important goals, and constitute a victory for private citizens and organizations across the political spectrum. 

For their part, IRS officials have gone on record in support of eliminating the Schedule B form requirement for some 501(c) classifications. As reported, in December 2015, for example, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations

Tamara Ripperda addressed the possibility of eliminating the Schedule B:   

The IRS is considering eliminating Schedule B of the Form 990, which asks for the names and addresses of an exempt organization's contributors and for certain information about contributions received.  Tax analysts reported that, at a program sponsored by the Urban Institute, Tammy Ripperda (Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS) questioned whether the IRS should ask for the names and addresses of contributors, given that this information is not made public, and whether there is a need for the information from a federal tax law enforcement standpoint. 

It is therefore clear that the Schedule B form requirement is unnecessary, and only perpetuates the possibility of abuse by IRS officials or outside wrongdoers, including state officials with access to the information.  Accordingly, we urge all Members of Congress to support H.R. 4916, legislation that will finally eliminate the Schedule B form requirement for 501(c) groups. 

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Mazzella

President

Center for Individual Freedom

 

Leigh Hixon

Senior Director of Policy Relations

Alabama Policy Institute

 

Lisa B. Nelson

CEO

ALEC Action

 

Michael Farris

President, CEO & General Counsel

Alliance Defending Freedom

 

Phil Kerpen

President

American Commitment

 

Steve Pociask

President

American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research

 

Allen Hebert

 Chairman

American-Chinese Fellowship of Houston

 

Dan Schneider

Executive Director

American Conservative Union

 

Sean Noble

President

American Encore

 

Mark J. Fitzgibbons

President of Corporate Affairs

American Target Advertising, Inc.

 

Tim Wildmon

President

American Family Association

 

Brent Wm. Gardner

Chief Government Affairs Officer

Americans for Prosperity

 

Grover Norquist

President

Americans for Tax Reform

 

Brenda Baller

Vice-President

Baller & Co.

 

Rich Bott, President

Dick Bott, Founder

Bott Radio Network

 

Will Swaim

President

California Policy Center

 

Steve Buckstein

Senior Policy Analyst and Founder

Cascade Policy Institute

 

Andrew F. Quinlan

President

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

 

Olivia Grady

Senior Fellow

Center for Worker Freedom

 

Chuck Muth

President

Citizen Outreach

 

Twila Brase RN, PHN

President and Co-founder

Citizens' Council for Health Freedom

 

William L. Walton

Chairman

CNP Action, Inc.

 

Dawn Wildman

Policy Director

Coalition for Policy Reform

 

Kent Lassman

President and CEO

Competitive Enterprise Institute

 

Dan Caldwell

Executive Director

Concerned Veterans for America

 

Penny Nance

President and CEO

Concerned Women for America 

 

Richard A. Viguerie

Chairman

ConservativeHQ.com

 

James N. Clymer

Vice President

Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund

 

Matthew Kandrach

President

Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

 

Ron Pearson

President

Council for America

 

Tom Schatz

President

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

 

Katie McAuliffe

Executive Director

Digital Liberty

 

Rebekah Gantner

Executive Director

Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund

 

Tim Hoefer

Executive Director

Empire Center for Public Policy

 

Grant Callen

President

Empower Mississippi Foundation

 

Gary Marx

Former Executive Director

Faith and Freedom Coalition

 

Chad Connelly

President

Faith Wins

 

Paul Weber

President & CEO

Family Policy Alliance

 

James C. Dobson Ph.D.

Founder & President

Family Talk

 

Tarren Bragdon

Chief Executive Officer

Foundation for Government Accountability

 

Brian Minnich

Executive Vice President

Freedom Foundation

 

Nathan Nascimento 

Executive Vice President

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

 

Adam Brandon

President

FreedomWorks

 

George Landrith

President

Frontiers of Freedom

 

David Barnes

Policy Director

Generation Opportunity

 

Victor Riches

President & CEO

Goldwater Institute

 

Christopher L. Carmouche

Executive Director

GrassTopsUSA

 

Joseph R.Gregory

President and CEO

Gregory Management Company

 

Mario Lopez 

President

Hispanic Leadership Fund

 

John Tillman

CEO

Illinois Policy Institute

 

Carrie L. Lukas

President

Independent Women's Forum

 

Heather R. Higgins

President and CEO

Independent Women's Voice

 

Andrew Langer

President

Institute for Liberty

 

Kory Swanson

President & CEO

John Locke Foundation

 

Samuel B. Casey

General Counsel

Jubilee Campaign

 

Dave Trabert

President

Kansas Policy Institute

 

Seton Motley

President

Less Government

 

Connor Boyack

President

Libertas Institute

 

Mat Staver

Founder and Chairman

Liberty Counsel

 

Penny Pullen

President

Life Advocacy Resource Project

 

The Honorable Bob McEwen

U.S. House of Representatives Former Member,

Ohio

 

L. Brent Bozell III

Founder and President

Media Research Center

 

Cleta Mitchell, Esq. 

Attorney for Nonprofit Organizations

 

Gregg Keller

Chairman

Missouri Century Foundation

 

Brent Mead

CEO

Montana Policy Institute

 

Ted Baehr

Publisher

Movieguide

 

Willes K Lee

President

National Federation of Republican Assemblies

 

Chris W. Cox

Executive Director

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action

 

Pete Sepp

President

National Taxpayers Union

 

John A. Tsarpalas

President

Nevada Policy Research Institute

 

Jonathan Small

President

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

 

Sally C. Pipes

President and CEO

Pacific Research Institute

 

Caroline Lewis

Owner

Percipio Communications

 

Ed Martin

President

Phyllis Schlafly Eagles

 

Jim Vokal

Chief Executive Officer

Platte Institute

 

Lorenzo Montanari

Executive Director

Property Rights Alliance

 

Nancy Schulze

Founder, Republican Congressional Wives Speakers

Co-Chair, Congressional Prayer Caucus Wives Council

 

Joe Calvert

President

Rabon Calvert Interests

 

Mike Stenhouse

CEO

Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity

 

The Honorable Richard T. Schulze (R-PA)

Former Member of Congress

 

James L. Martin

Founder/Chairman

60 Plus Association

 

Karen Kerrigan

President & CEO

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

 

Tracie Sharp

President & CEO

State Policy Network

 

Kristan Hawkins

President

Students for Life of America

 

David Williams

President

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

 

Judson Phillips

President

Tea Party Nation

 

Jenny Beth Martin

Co-Founder

Tea Party Patriots

 

Lynn Taylor

President

Tertium Quids

 

Robert Alt

President & CEO

The Buckeye Institute

 

Brett Healy

President

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

 

Daniel Garza

President

The Libre Initiative

 

Matthew Gagnon

Chief Executive Officer

The Maine Heritage Policy Center

 

Charles Sauer

Founder and President

The Market Institute

 

Stephen T. Whelan

Chairman

The Witherspoon Institute

 

C. Preston Noell III

President

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

 

Bill Dallas

CEO

United in Purpose

 

Dann Mead Smith

President

Washington Policy Center

 

David A Keene

Editor at Large

Washington Times

 

Alan P. Dye

Partner

Webster, Chamberlain & Bean

 

Floyd Brown

Chairman

Western Center for Journalism

 

J C White

President

Almont Homes

 

Somers H. White

Former Arizona State Senator