CatholicVote Signs Amicus Brief to Protect Non-Profits from Targeting by IRS

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CV NEWS FEED // CatholicVote signed onto an amicus curiae brief for the ongoing case Buckeye Institute v. IRS, supporting the privacy rights of nonprofit organizations and their donors.

Advancing American Freedom (AAF) Foundation led the brief. Former Vice President Mike Pence founded AAF two years ago. Seventy other organizations also signed the brief.

In a statement Wednesday, AAF spoke out against the IRS’s “demand” for “501(c)(3) organizations to disclose their donors for IRS surveillance.” AAF called the move “both invasive and unjustified.”

“Nonprofit organizations are protected by the First Amendment and should never be forced by the government to disclose their donors,” said AAF General Counsel J. Marc Wheat:

The IRS’s requirement chills donors’ First Amendment speech and assembly rights out of fear of the IRS mishandling confidential information or political retribution for private donations. Advancing American Freedom will continue to defend American’s rights against burdensome regulations that leave them vulnerable to the government.

The case is currently filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

The Buckeye Institute is a Columbus, an Ohio-based think tank that supports state policies which promote the free market. According to its website’s entry on the case, the key question the court will decide is:

Does the IRS-required disclosure of The Buckeye Institute’s contributors unlawfully and substantially deprive Buckeye and its supporters of the free association and assembly rights secured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?

The organization wrote that it “has experienced firsthand the chilling effect that forced donor disclosure has on the freedom of association.”

“In 2013,” the Institute explains,

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shortly after The Buckeye Institute publicly urged Ohio’s governor and General Assembly to reject the federal efforts at Medicaid expansion, our organization was selected for audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Some Buckeye donors feared that this conspicuous audit was likely instigated as retaliation for Buckeye’s prominent role as the leading voice opposing the administration’s proposed Medicaid expansion. 

Those same donors expressed serious concern that if their names appeared on Buckeye’s records, they too could be potentially subjected to retaliatory individual audits or other such government antagonism. Some of The Buckeye Institute’s donors stopped giving entirely, and others began making smaller, anonymous, cash donations in the aftermath of Buckeye’s politically-motivated IRS audit—often foregoing donation receipts and with it tax-deductibility—hoping to avoid any personal political retribution for their financial support of Buckeye.

The post CatholicVote Signs Amicus Brief to Protect Non-Profits from Targeting by IRS appeared first on CatholicVote org.

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