Coral Ridge Ministries Media v. Amazon & Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

admin Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in support of a complaint filed by Coral Ridge Ministries Media, which has been unfairly classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. We explain in our brief that the SPLC defames organizations like Coral Ridge Ministries by adding them to a “hate map,” which is used Read More

FSC/FSDEF Comments Filed with IRS re Form 990, Schedule B, Donor Identification Rules

admin Administrative Law, Nonprofit Law

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.

Link to comments

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra & Thomas More v. Becerra

admin Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we filed our fourth amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 22 organizations and fundraisers opposing a California requirement that nonprofits surrender the names of their large donors before soliciting contributions in that state. Now, we are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision of the Ninth Circuit.This is the sixth brief we filed defending the right of nonprofits to withhold IRS Form 990 Schedules B, protecting the anonymity of their donors. In our brief, we address four issues —why such disclosure demands are unconstitutional for four reasons:  freedom of association under NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Alabama; blanket restrictions of  charitable solicitation under Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates; breach of anonymity under Watchtower v. Village of Stratton and Talley v. California; and lastly, because in addition to retaliation by the public, government officials could retaliate against those donors funding nonprofits working to oppose government policies.

Link to brief

CREW v. FEC

admin Constitutional Law, Election Law, Nonprofit Law, Statutory Construction, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief opposing a strained reading of the Federal Election Campaign Act disclosure requirement which CREW has urged a federal court to be forced on the FEC.  FEC rules have long required the disclosure by non-political committees of donors giving to support specific Independent Expenditures (IEs).  Reversing that established rule, the U.S. District Court for the District Read More

IFS v. Becerra

admin Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

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.

Link to brief

In Re: Jackson Charitable Trust

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, Pennsylvania Superior Court

This important case resolves an issue of Trust Law. It addresses the issue of the respective roles of Institutional Trustees and Individual
(Family) Trustees in making distributions when the Trust Instrument grants that authority to both. PNC bank refused to process the Jackson Family to make grants to conservative, pro-liberty, pro-free enterprise charities, on the theory that they were “political.” Read More

Patriotic Veterans v. Curtis Hill, Attorney General of Indiana

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today we co-counseled the filing of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Patriotic Veterans, a nonprofit organization based in Illinois.  This Petition brings to the High Court a First Amendment challenge to an Indiana law barring most nonprofit organizations from using automated dialing equipment to conduct issue advocacy and grassroots lobbying.  Read More

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Xavier Becerra

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today we filed a brief for the Free Speech Coalition and a large number of nonprofit orgainzations opposing efforts by the Attorney General of California to compel the disclosure by nonprofit organizations soliciting funds in that state of the names of their largest donors.

The issue in the case involves conditioning the ability to fundraise in California on disclosing confidential information to Read More

Citizens United v. Schneiderman

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit opposing efforts by the Attorney General of New York from implementing new procedures requiring every nonprofit organization which solicits funds in that state to provide him with the names, addresses, and donation amounts of the organization’s largest donors.  Although the Attorney General of New York insists Read More

FSC/FSDEF Comments Urging IRS to Protect Nonprofit Donor Lists

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Nonprofit Law

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
information.

Our comments explained how the California Read More

FSC Letter to Congressman Fleming Supporting Impeachment of Koskinen

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law

Today, on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, we sent a letter to Congressman John C. Fleming, M.D., expressing the Free Speech Coalition’s support for H.Res. 828, the House’s impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

In addition to supporting impeachment for his malfeasance in concealing the nefarious deeds of Lois Lerner, our letter explains his nonfeasance in failing to protect Read More

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Harris
Thomas More Law Center v. Harris

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today we filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit for the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, the Free Speech Coalition and other nonprofits attacking a new interpretation of law by the the California Attorney General.  Under this new interpretation, as a per-condition to soliciting contributions in California, each charity must provide provide the Attorney General with its IRS Form 990 Schedule Read More

Ohio Election Commission v. Susan B. Anthony List — Amicus Brief Filed Opposing Ohio’s “Ministry of Truth”

Michael Harless Election Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Taking a page out of Orwell’s novel 1984, the Ohio Elections Commission operates as a modern “Ministry of Truth’ — with the power to “determine” and “proclaim” the truth or falsity of every statement made during an Ohio political campaign. Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that the government has no legitimate role whatsoever to play Read More

Young America’s Foundation v. Alice M. Wood Amicus Brief for Citizens United, et al. in the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District

Michael Harless Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Young America’s Foundation v. Alice M. Wood in the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District in support of appellant.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, Free Speech Coalition, Inc., U.S. Justice Foundation and 51 other amici curiae.

Link to brief

National Taxpayers Union v Social Security Administration Amicus Brief in Support of Petitioner U.S. Supreme Court

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioner National Taxpayers Union. At issue in this case is the constitutionality of a statute — section 1140 of the Social Security Act — which was misused to uphold significant penalties against National Taxpayers Union for engaging in core political speech, entitled to the strongest First Amendment protection Read More

Free Speech Coalition Critique of House Efforts to Restrict Grassroots Lobbying

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Nonprofit Law

With the House of Representatives soon to vote on the lobbying reform bill, the Campaign Legal Center has issued a memo arguing that grassroots restrictions are clearly constitutional under existing law.  We prepared this analysis for the Free Speech Coalition explaining why such restrictions are unconstitutional, and why the analysis of the Campaign Legal Center is flawed.

Link to analysis

FSC Comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law

On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, we submitted post-hearing comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance relating to its staff report and June 22, 2004 hearings on “Charity Oversight and Reform: Keeping Bad Things from Happening to Good Charities.” The comments point out shortcomings of many of the proposed solutions contained in the discussion draft.

Link to comments

Postal Service Proposed Regulations on First Class Rates

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Nonprofit Law

On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, we filed comments with the U.S. Postal Service expressing the concern that the proposed regulations, which clarify the type of mail that must be entered at First-Class rates and that which is eligible for Standard mail rates, would inappropriately shift much educational mail from Nonprofit Standard to First-Class rates.

Link to comments

Statement Presented on Charitable Solicitation to New York State Senate

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law

Today, Bill Olson presented a statement on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition to the Committee on Consumer Protection of the New York State Senate.  The Senate Committee had sought input on the “public disclosure of charities rates of donor retention and use, industry regulation and the adequacy of current laws pertaining to charitable telemarketing solicitation.”

Link to comments

James E. Ryan, Attorney General of Illinois v. Telemarketing Associates, Inc, et al.

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, U. S. Supreme Court

Our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, American Target Advertising, Inc., Eberle Communications Group, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, English First, Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and Citizens United Foundation in support of respondents Telemarketing Associates, Read More

Aid Association for Lutherans v. United States Postal Service

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, Postal Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund focusing on the lack of procedural due process that inexorably attaches to the Postal Service’s interpretation of 39 U.S.C. section 3626(j)(1)(B) that its decisions as to who can mail what at nonprofit rates are not reviewable in federal court. Our constitutional analysis supplies the court with an Read More