The Silver Lining of the Dissent in Americans for Prosperity Foundation's Denial of Rehearing "En Banc"

Can controversial groups expect government protection from mandatory disclosures of their participants? Not as the Americans for Prosperity Foundation has painfully learned in California. APF suffered yet another court setback in the federal appellate Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent denial of an en banc (full court) rehearing. APF has fought the California Attorney General’s mandatory donor disclosures in annual filings, citing First Amendment freedom of speech, association rights, and related concerns for donors’ privacy and protection from harassment. 

“Play Between the Joints” and Tax Theory: Reflections on Seventh Circuit’s Clergy Housing Allowance Ruling

On March 15, 2019, the Seventh Circuit issued its Gaylor v. Mnuchin ruling, upholding the clergy housing allowance’s constitutionality.  This decision astutely recognizes that the fundamental questions in this case fall in a jurisprudentially gray area, or within the “play in the joints” between the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment clauses.  Between these two foundational pillars of our liberal democracy, the Court’s constitutional interpretation rightly respects the independence of institutions for a free society, particularly as applied to the clergy housing allowance.  Such deference further implicates the interplay between tax subsidy theory and religion. 

Salary Threshold Increase for Exempt Employees

The minimum federal salary threshold for white-collar employees may soon increase from $23,660 to $35,308.  The U.S. Department of Labor recently released a proposed rule increasing the long-standing amount, as one of the requirements for “exempt” employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Consequently, nonprofit employers with modestly or low-paid executive directors and other dedicated leaders may need to revisit their compensation structures to ensure that key leaders remain as exempt employees, for purposes of overtime pay and related legal compliance. In case this news sounds familiar, it is.  The DOL previously tried to increase the salary threshold much more drastically, and this second attempt might just stick.