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Conservative Leaders Demand Hearing On IRS Privacy Violations

A who's who list of 104 conservative movement leaders, organizations, and lawyers have sent House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz the attached letter and Memorandum of Cause for Hearings on Schedule B Violations (linked here).  The letter and Memorandum of Cause allege and describe serious violations and evasions of the Internal Revenue Code by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with regard to the confidentiality of donor names and addresses on Schedule B of Form 990 filed by nonprofit organizations with the IRS. 

Harris and Schneiderman are using state charitable solicitation licensing schemes to collect Schedule B donor Kamala Harrisnames and addresses in dragnet fashion, even though their state laws do not require them to acquire that confidential federal tax return information.  They are demanding and collecting this information by choice, and in ways not authorized by the federal tax code.  The tax code and IRS interpretations place severe restrictions on state officials’ acquiring and using such information. 

The letter, which was initiated by the Weyrich Lunch, also asks Chairman Chaffetz for congressional investigation into why the IRS has been derelict in failing to act to prevent the state AGs’ violations of the tax code.  The letter references the state AGs’ violations of the constitutional protections of the right of private association as expressed in the 1958 landmark civil rights case NAACP v. Alabama

Post-Watergate reforms to the tax code created a rigid regime for how state and federal officials may gain access to, use, and inspect confidential federal tax return information.  The dragnet methods used by Harris and Scheiderman to acquire, inspect, and even disclose confidential Schedule Bs are unprecedented.  Civil and even criminal penalties for willful violations may apply to violators of the tax code’s confidentiality laws. 

The Memorandum of Cause describes the IRS’s unique and exclusive authority to protect and monitor confidential federal tax return information.  The IRS is supposed to require mandatory agreements with states and conduct on-site inspections when states are provided access to confidential federal tax return information.  The Memorandum raises issues about whether the Lois Lerner-era decisions by Harris and Schneiderman constitute willful evasions of federal law, and whether the IRS was knowingly derelict in taking steps to prevent Harris and Schneiderman from evading federal tax return confidentiality laws. 

The Memorandum shows that the law and IRS interpretations not only prohibit disclosure of donor names to the public or select third parties, but also prohibit unauthorized access to, and use of, such information by state officials except under limited exceptions authorized under the law. 

In a scathing ruling in April, U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real enjoined Harris from acquiring the Schedule B names of donors to Americans for Prosperity Foundation.  That ruling was based on the First Amendment.  Judge Real even questioned Harris’ candor with the court, writing, “The pervasive, recurring pattern of uncontained Schedule B disclosures -- a pattern that has persisted even during this trial -- is irreconcilable with the Attorney General’s assurances and contentions as to the confidentiality of Schedule B collected by [Harris’ office].” 

Both Harris and Schneiderman are also part of the “Green 20” liberal state attorneys general attempting to silence nonprofit organizations about their positions on climate change by using investigations of their research, publications, and even donors. 

Signers of the letter include the following conservative leaders and lawyers: 

Morton C. Blackwell, Chairman 
The Weyrich Lunch 

Colin A. Hanna, President 
Let Freedom Ring 
Co-chairman, The Weyrich Lunch 

 

Cleta Mitchell, Esq., Board Member 
Coalitions for America 

Alan P. Dye, Esquire 
Webster, Chamberlain and Bean 

Dr. James Dobson, Founder and President 
Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk 

Phyllis Schlafly, Founder and CEO 
Eagle Forum 

Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman 
ConservativeHQ.com 

L. Brent Bozell III, Founder and President 
Media Research Center 

Penny Nance, CEO and President 
Concerned Women for America (CWA) 

Grover Norquist, President 
Americans for Tax Reform 

Alan E. Sears, President, CEO, & General Counsel 
Alliance Defending Freedom (for identification purposes only) 

James Bopp Jr, General Counsel 
James Madison Center for Free Speech 

Gary Bauer, President 
American Values 

Jenny Beth Martin, Co-Founder and President 
Tea Party Patriots 

David N. Bossie, President 
Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation 

Michael Farris, Chairman 
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President 
Susan B. Anthony List (SBA-List) 

Jerry A. Johnson, Ph.D., President and CEO 
National Religious Broadcasters 

Kent Lassman, President 
Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) 

Adam Brandon, CEO 
FreedomWorks 

Brent Wm. Gardner, Vice President of Government Affairs 
Americans for Prosperity 

Dick Ribbentrop, Senior Vice President – Policy 
Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce 

Michael Boos, Vice President & General Counsel 
Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation 

Ron Robinson, President 
Young America's Foundation 

Rick Scarborough, President 
Vision America Action 

Mathew D. Staver, Esq., B.C.S. 
Founder and Chairman 
Liberty Counsel 

Colby M. May, Esq., Director and Senior Counsel, Washington Office 
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) 

David Bozell, Executive Director 
ForAmerica 

Dr. John C. Eastman, Chairman of the Board 
National Organization for Marriage 

Alfred J. Lechner, Jr., President and CEO 
Cause of Action Institute 

Ted Baehr, Publisher 
MOVIEGUIDE(R) 
Member, Broadcast Film Critics Association 

Jeffrey Mazzella, President 
Center for Individual Freedom 

George Landrith, President 
Frontiers of Freedom 

Craig Shirley, Reagan Biographer 

Phil Kerpen, President 
American Commitment 

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

Carrie Lukas, Managing Director 
Independent Women's Forum 

Lew Uhler, Founder and President 
National Tax Limitation Committee 

Dr Jim Garlow 
Pastors Rapid Response Team 

Rev. Lou Sheldon, Founder and Chairman 
Traditional Values Coalition 

Andrea Lafferty, President 
Traditional Values Coalition 

Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs 
American Family Association (AFA) 

Dick Patten, President 
American Business Defense Council 

Dan Weber, CEO 
Association of Mature American Citizens 

William J. Olson, Legal Counsel 
Free Speech Coalition 

Steven J. Buri, President 
Discovery Institute 

Rebecca Hagelin 
Secretary, Council for National Policy 
Board of Directors, Family Talk 
(Titles for identification purposes only) 

Jim Burling, Director of Litigation 
Pacific Legal Foundation 

Susan Carleson, President 
American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) 

James L. Martin, Chairman 
60 Plus Association 

Star Parker, President 
Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education 

Bradley Mattes, President 
Life Issues Institute 

Judson Phillips, Founder 
Tea Party Nation 

Becky Gerritson, President, 
Wetumpka TEA Party (AL) and Founder of Born Free American LLC 

Alfred S. Regnery, Chairman 
Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund 

David Ridenour, President 
The National Center for Public Policy Research 

Kenneth R. Timmerman, President 
Foundation for Democracy in Iran 

Andrew Langer, President 
Institute for Liberty 

Thomas P. Kilgannon, President 
Freedom Alliance 

Chuck Muth, President 
Citizen Outreach 

Norm Singleton, President 
Campaign for Liberty 

Ron Pearson 
Council for America 

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

Patrick D. Purtill, Director of Legislative Affairs 
Faith and Freedom Coalition 

Michael Bowen Co-Chairmen 
Coalition for a Strong America 

Stephani Scruggs, Co-Chairmen 
Coalition for a Strong America 

Robert D. Thompson, Administrator 
The Weyrich Lunch 

Kevin L. Kearns, President 
US Business and Industry Council 

Former Congressman Steve Stockman (TX) 
Member of Congress, 1995-1997 & 2013 – 2015 

Hon. John T. Doolittle, United States Representative, Ret. 

Larry Pratt, Executive Director Emeritus 
Gun Owners of America 

Dave Williams, President 
Taxpayers Protection Alliance 

Elaine Donnelly, President 
Center for Military Readiness 

Larry Cirignano, DC Representative 
Children First Foundation 

Mark Fitzgibbons, President of Corporate Affairs 
American Target Advertising 

Bruce Eberle, Chairman 
Eberle Associates 

Quin Hillyer, Veteran Conservative Columnist 

Linwood Bragan, Executive Director 
CapStand Council for Policy and Ethics 

Andresen Blom, Executive Director 
Grassroot Hawaii Action, Inc. 

David Pietrusza, Author 
www.davidpietrusza.com 

Jim Backlin 
Christian Coalition of America 

Demos Chrissos, Founder and President 
Foundation for American Media 

Dr. Ron Crews, CH (COL) USAR Retired 
Executive Director, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty 

Dan Backer, President 
American Dream Initiative 

Niger Innis, National Spokesperson 
Congress On Racial Equality (CORE) 

Craig Manson, Executive Director 
Center for Environmental Science, Advocacy & Reliability 

Rich Lowrie, Co-Founder & Senior Advisor 
Put Growth First 

Willes K. Lee, President 
National Federation of Republican Assemblies 

Seton Motley, President 
Less Government 

E. Everett Bartlett, President 
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments 

Gene Valentino, Chairman 
Citizens for a Just Government 

Art Harman 
Former Legislative Director to Rep. Steve Stockman 

Jay Devereaux, President 
United in Action 

Alex St. James 
Blacks Economic-Security Trust Today. (BEST TRUST) 

Jim Babka, President 
DownsizeDC.org, Inc. 
& Downsize DC Foundation 

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

KaLeigh Long- Executive Director 
Conservative Leadership PAC 

Shaun McCutcheon, Chairman 
Coolidge Reagan Foundation 

Melissa Ortiz, Founder & Principal 
Able Americans 

Peter J. Thomas, Chairman 
Americans for Constitutional Liberty 

Gerrye Johnston, Founder/CEO 
Women for Democracy in America, Inc. 

David L. Bufkin 
ClearWord Communications Group, Inc. 

Dick Brauer, Col, USAF (Ret), President 
Veterans Patriot Action Conference (a 501c19) 

John J. Park, Jr. 
Conservative Activist and Donor

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