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On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, H.R. 4916, sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). The bill would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 990, Schedule B requirement for 501(c) organizations, strengthening the free speech protections of Americans by preventing the IRS from collecting sensitive information about donors, including names and addresses. If the confidential information collected is used improperly by the IRS, it would have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association and put the privacy of these donors at risk.
It’s not exactly a secret that the IRS has been used as a tool to target Americans who have political or philosophical views that are on the opposite side of an administration. There is no better example of this than the targeting of Tea Party organizations by the IRS. Led by Lois Lerner, the IRS discriminated against these Tea Party organizations and individuals simply seeking to participate in the public debate. In another separate instance, an IRS employee leaked an unredacted Schedule B containing the names of donors and addresses to an organization that promotes traditional marriage.
The Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, which, in the 114th Congress, passed the House by a vote of 240 to 182, simply eliminates the current statutory requirement of 501(c) nonprofits to file a Schedule B form. This would protect the First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association and privacy rights of donors.
With the IRS’s history of serving as a powerful arm to persecute organizations and individuals because of their political beliefs and its failure to secure confidential information, the time has come to eliminate the Schedule B requirement for 501(c) organizations. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, H.R. 4916.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks