Why a Tea Party Patriots Founder Testified Again About IRS Bias

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Posted: Feb 14, 2020 11:30 AM
Why a Tea Party Patriots Founder Testified Again About IRS Bias

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Americans may have forgotten how the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups in the Obama years, but many of the victims haven't. In 2013, the IRS unfairly held up applications from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. The agency has since offered its "sincere apology" and settled several financial settlements.

Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin relived the scandal last week when she testified before Congress during a hearing on "Guidance under Section 6033 Regarding the Reporting Requirements of Exempt Organizations," the proposal to eliminate the Schedule B donor disclosure requirements for 501(c)(4) organizations.

More from the Federal Register:

This document contains proposed regulations that would update information reporting regulations under section 6033 that are generally applicable to organizations exempt from tax under section 501(a) to reflect statutory amendments and certain grants of reporting relief announced through subregulatory guidance that have been made since the current regulations were adopted, particularly with respect to tax-exempt organizations required to file an annual Form 990 or 990-EZ information return.

"The donor disclosure requirements of Schedule B have made it more difficult to raise funds since then because of the resulting fear by many donors of potential retaliation and individual targeting by the IRS," Martin said during her testimony. "Donors know that their names are going to be disclosed to the IRS if they give $5,000 or more – and that gives many donors pause. Even though Schedule B is not a public document, donors know they are putting their names on a government list as a supporter of a conservative organization." 

The IRS has been making private information available to the public in violation of the law, Martin alleged.

"Congress did, however, mandate other things about our organization's tax returns. By law, that piece of paper with the list becomes part of our return, and, by law, that piece of paper with the list may NOT be shared publicly. And yet, on previous occasions, exempt organizations' donor lists HAVE been made public by the IRS in violation of the law, to the great detriment of the organizations and their donors."

FreedomWorks' Vice President Noah Wall was proud to have testified on Friday, too, encouraging Congress to repeal the donor mandates.

"Today I was proud to join prominent conservatives in supporting the Trump Administration's efforts to eliminate the unjustifiable practice of forcing social welfare 501(c)(4) organizations having to turn over their donor rolls to the IRS.

"On behalf of FreedomWorks' nationwide grassroots community and our donors, I am proud to support the proposed elimination of the Schedule B donor disclosure requirement as a means to protect donor privacy."