Today we filed comments with the IRS, supporting its proposed regulation to eliminate the requirement for exempt organizations, other than IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, to identify the name and address of their largest donors on their IRS Form 990s. These comments were filed for Free Speech Coalition, Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, and eleven other organizations. We asked the IRS to expand the exemption to include section 501(c)(3) organizations as well.
Today, we filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit supporting a challenge against the California Attorney General’s demands for the large donor lists (IRS Form 990 Schedule B) of charitable organizations who wish to register to solicit donations in that state. We argued that the AG’s requirement creates a condition precedent that violates the right to peacably assemble. We also explained that the new rule does not only risk public dissemination of donor information, as has already happened in California, but also the risk that politicized Attorney Generals in New York and California — Kamala Harris, Xavier Becerra, and Eric Schneiderman — would misuse the information. We also raised the distinct possibility that the AG is committing the federal crime of solicitation of taxpayer information because it is conditioning the ability to raise funds in California on the “voluntary” provision of the confidential donor lists. Finally, we argued that 9th Circuit precedent in similar cases improperly relied on election law cases, requiring that IFS’ case be heard en banc.
On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition and Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, we submitted comments to the IRS asking it to protect the confidentiality the donor lists of nonprofit organizations. The IRS had invited comments on its Publication 1075 relating to security guidelines for government agencies in possession of confidential tax
Our comments explained how the California and New York attorneys general are demanding the names of its larger donors as a condition of nonprofit organizations fundraising in those states. We explain how such efforts violate both federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The comments urged the IRS to address this problem in its revisions to Publication 1075.