Free Speech Coalition Calls on Congress to Investigate States Illegally Collecting and Disclosing Donor Information
VIENNA, Va., July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Dick Dingman, Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) of Vienna, VA regarding letters sent by FSC advising three congressional committees of the illegal collection and disclosure of donor names and addresses by the state Attorneys General of California and New York:
"The California and New York Attorneys General are violating federal law and abusing their positions as their states' charitable officials by requiring nonprofit organizations to file and thereby disclose names and addresses of their large donors," said Mr. Dingman.
"These states are violating federal law to intimidate and silence critics of government, a tactic for which government has a long history as discussed in the landmark case of NAACP v. Alabama. We are seeing states violate federal tax confidentiality laws to harass, bully and discriminate against some speakers, and give favored status to other speakers in public debate.
"Congress is already investigating the unlawful and even felonious disclosure of confidential tax information, including the names of donors to nonprofit organizations, by the IRS and states, and we wanted them to know the full scope of the problem.
"The FSC letters explain that the California and New York Attorneys General are violating the Internal Revenue Code's clear delineations for when and how state officials may collect and disclose tax information. The California and New York Attorneys General violate donor confidentiality by demanding that nonprofit organizations file their large donor names with those state charitable officials in order to register to solicit contributions in those states. These demands are in violation of federal law, and are an unconstitutional and extortive condition placed on nonprofit organizations that solicit contributions, which is protected by the First Amendment. These tactics are clearly designed to scare and silence nonprofit organizations and their donors.
"IRS official Lois Lerner, who invoked the Fifth Amendment to not testify when she was called before Congress, has had a history of collaborating with state charitable officials. FSC calls on Congress to investigate and stop this illegal disclosure, and prevent its spread to other states," concluded Mr. Dingman.
The FSC letters dated July 23 were sent to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Ways and Means, and can be viewed at www.freespeechcoalition.org.
The Free Speech Coalition is an IRC section 501(c)(4) organization formed in 1993 to advocate for the First Amendment and other constitutional rights of nonprofit organizations.
CONTACT: Dick Dingman
SOURCE The Free Speech Coalition
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