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“For the People” Act: Donor Disclosures, Free Speech Threats, and Other Bad Ideas

Is it campaign finance reform, or yet another threat of harm to First Amendment rights affecting donors and tax-exempt organizations?  This spring, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an “omnibus” campaign finance bill called “For the People Act,” (H.R. 1) which addresses a wide range of election and related matters. The Act expressly excludes Section 501(c)(3) public charities from its donor disclosure and reporting requirements, but not Section 501(c)(4) social welfare or other tax-exempt organizations.  While the proposed legislation likely will go nowhere in the Senate, it warrants notable mention in the following ways.

NONPROFIT LAW NEWSFEED

AG Grewal Division of Consumer Affairs Announce New Donor Reporting Requirement for 501(c)(4) Organizations Other Charities

Insider NJ  Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced a new rule adopted in response to the federal government’s elimination last year of a requirem

NY, NJ sue IRS for info on nonprofit-donor disclosure shift

The Associated Press  New York and New Jersey want to know how the Internal Revenue Service decided to stop requiring donor information from certain nonprofit organizations — among them big political spenders.

Committee raising questions over animal shelter fundraising

Daily World  A St. Landry Parish Finance Committee is questioning the solicitation of private funding, social media contributions and individual donations obtained by animal shelter director Staci McKnight to help operation of the parish government facility.

NRA'S FINANCES AND CHARITABLE FOUNDATION'S TAX EXEMPT STATUS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL

Newsweek  The finances of the National Rifle Association and its charitable foundation are under investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James, amid allegations of internal extort

University of Maryland Medical System receives federal subpoena as part of investigation into Baltimore mayor

Baltimore Sun  The University of Maryland Medical System on Thursday received a subpoena for documents in a federal investigation into Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s business dealings. Michael Schwartzberg, a spokesman for the hospital network, said the medical system “has received a grand jury witness subpoena today from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland seeking documents and information from UMMS in order to conduct their investigation of Mayor Pugh.”

Sen. Cotton Seeks IRS Investigation Into SPLC’s Tax-Exempt Status

Washington Free Beacon   Sen. Tom Cotton (R - AR) is seeking an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  Cotton sent the letter to the IRS April 2 and urges an investigation into whether the SPLC "should retain its classification as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization" amid news reports that have verified the "long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents."

Bipartisan IRS Reform

ASPPA  Key members of Congress have introduced separate legislation to revamp the Internal Revenue Service.  All tax-exempt organizations would be required to file their Forms 990 electronically.

Trump signs executive order on free speech on college campuses

The Washington Post  President Trump signed an executive order Thursday protecting freedom of speech on college campuses, surrounded by student activists who have said conservative views are suppressed at universities.

After Scandal, Higher Ed Fundraisers Fear Efforts to Curtail Deductions

The Chronicle of Philanthropy  Higher-education fundraisers and advocates are concerned that the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal could spark a wave of efforts to curtail tax breaks for giving to universities, which would have a huge impact on their revenue.

Betsy DeVos Strikes a Blow for Religious Freedom

National Review  The secretary has announced that the Department of Education will no longer discriminate against religious organizations seeking to provide school services.

AG Grewal Division of Consumer Affairs Announce New Donor Reporting Requirement for 501(c)(4) Organizations Other Charities

Insider NJ  Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced a new rule adopted in response to the federal government’s elimination last year of a requirem

NY, NJ sue IRS for info on nonprofit-donor disclosure shift

The Associated Press  New York and New Jersey want to know how the Internal Revenue Service decided to stop requiring donor information from certain nonprofit organizations — among them big political spenders.