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Conservatives Must Follow the Law – Liberal Abortion Group Gets a Pass

Lois Lerner

Our friend Barbara Hollingsworth of CNS News has a great article about how Democratic Party partisans in New York selectively enforce the law to advantage liberal allies and causes while they use these same laws to impede and disrupt conservatives and others they don’t like.
According to Hollingsworth’s reporting, “New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) exempted NARAL Pro-Choice New York from new rules requiring non-profit groups to disclose the names of donors who contribute more than $5,000.”

But, reveals Hollingsworth, “JCOPE refused to grant a similar exemption to New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), a pro-life group.”
NYCF has now challenged the Democrat-dominated JCOPE’s decision to treat the two non-profits differently.
"Every nonprofit organization that applies for an exemption from donor disclosure requirements should be evaluated using the same procedure and standards," McGuire, a non-denominational evangelical minister, said in a statement releasing NYCF’s letter to the commission.
McGuire told CNSNews.com that unlike NYCF, NARAL refuses to release a copy of its letter to commissioners listing the criteria it cited to gain the exemption. He added that his donors’ identities should also be protected because the 31-year-old evangelical pro-life group is “no stranger to threats and reprisals,” including death threats phoned in to his office.
Many conservatives believe the entire New York disclosure rules (and similar efforts in California) are contrary to the federal Internal Revenue laws and as such are illegal on their face.
The Free Speech Coalition (FSC), a tax-exempt 501(c)4 organization established in 1993, claims that state officials in California and New York are illegally requiring non-profit groups to provide the names and addresses of their largest donors before they’re allowed to register with the state to solicit contributions.
Tax attorney and CHQ contributor Mark Fitzgibbons argued in an August 1st letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp that, “The illegal demands for donor information reported by FSC should be treated as a knowing and willful infringement of the law and of rights clearly protected by the Constitution and articulated repeatedly by the United States Supreme Court.”
A similar letter was sent to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), ranking member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
In the letter Fitzgibbons pointed out that the Supreme Court has already ruled on the matter. “Four times since 1980, the United States Supreme Court has declared certain regulatory actions of state charitable officials illegal under the First Amendment,” said the letter.
Now here’s the part that will provide conservatives with a real “a ha moment.”
“I [also] wish to bring your attention to the collaboration between IRS official Lois Lerner and state charitable officials” who are members of the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO), an umbrella group for state charity regulators, Fitzgibbons told House and Senate committee members.
“In her Exempt Organizations 2011 Annual Report, Ms. Lerner touts a proposed rulemaking… to reduce barriers to states’ participation in the [IRS’] information-sharing program,” he notes in the letter.  “Lerner explained that the IRS expected to have regular interaction with NASCO about the new filing and monitor trends that arise with the new Form 990 and hoped the feedback would help shape future adjustments.”
NASCO was already collaborating with the IRS, Fitzgibbons told CNSNews.com, since federal law allows the states to request Schedule B information from the federal tax collecting agency under certain proscribed circumstances, “but it really ramped up when Lois Lerner took over.”
“Within the last year, New York and California started demanding this information from every tax-exempt organization that raises money. Although they never had to file their Schedule Bs before, now they’ve been ordered to file in order to register,” Fitzgibbons explained in an interview with CNSNews.com.
“I won a case in 2000 in the 10th Circuit that found that no state statute expressly authorizes attorneys general to demand this donor information. These violations of law are in fact having a chilling effect on First Amendment rights because certain nonprofit organizations are deciding to not register to solicit contributions in those states in order to protect the confidentiality of their donors.
The point of this bureaucratic overreach is pretty clear, and very politically advantageous to Democrats, Fitzgibbons explained to CNSNews.com: “They know that this will make people squirm, which is exactly the effect intended. Some organizations are not going to register at all, while others will be very careful about how they criticize” government officials.
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