Coalition Letter: Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act

February 7, 2018

The Honorable Peter Roskam
U.S. House of Representatives
2246 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

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.


Jeffrey Mazzella
Center for Individual Freedom

Leigh Hixon
Senior Director of Policy Relations
Alabama Policy Institute

Lisa B. Nelson
ALEC Action

Michael Farris
President, CEO & General Counsel
Alliance Defending Freedom

Phil Kerpen
American Commitment

Steve Pociask
American Consumer Institute
Center for Citizen Research

Allen Hebert, Chairman
American-Chinese Fellowship
of Houston

Dan Schneider
Executive Director
American Conservative Union

Sean Noble
American Encore

Mark J. Fitzgibbons
President of Corporate Affairs
American Target Advertising, Inc.

Tim Wildmon
American Family Association

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Brenda Baller
Baller & Co.

Rich Bott, President
Dick Bott, Founder
Bott Radio Network

Will Swaim
California Policy Center

Steve Buckstein
Senior Policy Analyst and Founder
Cascade Policy Institute

Andrew F. Quinlan
Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Olivia Grady
Senior Fellow
Center for Worker Freedom

Chuck Muth
Citizen Outreach

Twila Brase RN, PHN
President and Co-founder
Citizens' Council for Health Freedom

William L. Walton
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

James N. Clymer
Vice President
Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund

Matthew Kandrach
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Ron Pearson
Council for America

Tom Schatz
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
Empower Mississippi Foundation

Gary Marx
Former Executive Director
Faith and Freedom Coalition

Chad Connelly
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

George Landrith
Frontiers of Freedom

David Barnes
Policy Director
Generation Opportunity

Victor Riches
President & CEO
Goldwater Institute

Christopher L. Carmouche
Executive Director

Joseph R.Gregory
President and CEO
Gregory Management Company

Mario Lopez
Hispanic Leadership Fund

John Tillman
Illinois Policy Institute

Carrie L. Lukas
Independent Women's Forum

Heather R. Higgins
President and CEO
Independent Women's Voice

Andrew Langer
Institute for Liberty

Kory Swanson
President & CEO
John Locke Foundation

Samuel B. Casey
General Counsel
Jubilee Campaign

Dave Trabert
Kansas Policy Institute

Seton Motley
Less Government

Connor Boyack
Libertas Institute

Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Penny Pullen
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
Missouri Century Foundation

Brent Mead
Montana Policy Institute

Ted Baehr

Willes K Lee
National Federation of Republican Assemblies

Chris W. Cox
Executive Director
National Rifle Association
Institute for Legislative Action

Pete Sepp
National Taxpayers Union

John A. Tsarpalas
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Jonathan Small
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Sally C. Pipes
President and CEO
Pacific Research Institute

Caroline Lewis
Percipio Communications

Ed Martin
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
Rabon Calvert Interests

Mike Stenhouse
Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity

The Honorable Richard T. Schulze (R-PA)
Former Member of Congress

James L. Martin
60 Plus Association

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Tracie Sharp
President & CEO
State Policy Network

Kristan Hawkins
Students for Life of America

David Williams
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Judson Phillips
Tea Party Nation

Jenny Beth Martin
Tea Party Patriots

Lynn Taylor
Tertium Quids

Robert Alt
President & CEO
The Buckeye Institute

Brett Healy
The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

Daniel Garza
The Libre Initiative

Matthew Gagnon
Chief Executive Officer
The Maine Heritage Policy Center

Charles Sauer
Founder and President
The Market Institute

Stephen T. Whelan
The Witherspoon Institute

C. Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Bill Dallas
United in Purpose

Dann Mead Smith
Washington Policy Center

David A Keene
Editor at Large
Washington Times

Alan P. Dye
Webster, Chamberlain & Bean

Floyd Brown
Western Center for Journalism

J C White
Almont Homes

Somers H. White
Former Arizona State Senator

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