House Republicans: Support H.R. 5053 The “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act”

The Conservative Movement supports the “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act” (H.R. 5053), which would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from collecting the identity of most donors to tax-exempt organizations.

The bill has been introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).  It would prohibit the IRS from requiring that Section 501(c) organizations (that is, (c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations) divulge the names and addresses of donors on the Form 990 Information Returns that they are required to file with the IRS. Under current law, tax-exempt organizations (both (c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations), must disclose to the IRS the identities of donors who contribute more than $5,000.

Congress required only 501(c)(3) entities to report the names of donors. The extension of the disclosure requirement to all 501(c) organizations (i.e., including (501(c)(4) organizations) was done by the Treasury Department and the IRS.

H.R. 5053 deserves the support of all people interested in freedom.

The central problem of our time is too much government. In his first Inaugural Address, President Reagan said: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Today’s advocates for big government of all stripes emphasize the first four words of the quote, “In this present crisis.” Their implication is that that was then; and that now the rest of the quote is inoperative.

That’s nonsense. In fact, now more than ever, government is the problem. And sadly, government is now not just the problem: government, or at least parts of it, has become the enemy.

We saw that in the Internal Revenue Service scandal that began in 2010.  The IRS targeted particular charitable groups (all conservative) that opposed the policies of President Obama.

In 2013, senior IRS official Lois Lerner admitted that organizations were targeted because of their titles or beliefs, but claimed that the practice was “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”

Subsequently, however, Lerner refused to testify in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pleading the Fifth Amendment.  She was placed on administrative leave the next day — but was not subsequently required to return her $42,000 in bonus pay.

But why should she have returned it?  She had done the administration’s work and had managed to “lose” thousands of emails in the process, and was entitled to the bonus.

That is the problem.

Too much government is one thing.  Misuse of government power is another.  But as students of history and government, and almost all sentient Americans, know, too much government power will inevitably lead to misuse. Power corrupts, and it corrupts especially advocates for big government of all stripes – it corrupts them especially because they seek — they continually seek — more and more power with which to govern the lives of the American people.

The growth of government, the growth of government power, inevitably leads to corruption. That President Obama’s IRS and senior IRS official Lois Lerner behaved scandalously should not have surprised anyone. Corrective action is needed.

H.R. 5053 is only a single step to reduce the power of government, but it is an important step, because it will help free people who publicly oppose the excessive power of government from the fear of retaliation by government.  Many believe that compelling the disclosure of donor information violates the contributors’ and exempt organizations’ First Amendment rights to freedom of association and that Congress should prohibit the continued collection by the IRS of this sensitive information.

The behavior of the Obama’s IRS and his appointee Lois Lerner is a national scandal. But even if what the IRS did was only a mistake — even Lois Lerner (of the $42,000 bonus) called the IRS’s behavior “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate” — steps should be taken to see that similar “mistakes” can’t occur in the future. The IRS itself has conceded that it has great difficulty maintaining the statutory confidentiality of donors’ identity.

H.R. 5053 will assist the IRS in doing its job: If the IRS doesn’t have information about donors to 501(c) organizations, it can’t release it, by mistake, or by direction of a successor to Lois Lerner — one of whom might, soon, be a Republican.

The IRS would continue to be able to obtain specific financial information, including donor identity and contribution histories and information, as part of any audit or enforcement action involving specific taxpayers; but that would be within a different IRS procedure and would be unaffected by the passage of H. R. 5053.

The Conservative Action Project urges all conservatives and conservative organizations — and all other Americans as well — to urge their representative in Washington to support H.R. 5053.  Ronald Reagan was right in 1981. And thirty-five years later, government is still the problem.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Former Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan


The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Former White House Advisor
President Ronald Reagan
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder & President
Media Research Center
The Honorable Bob McEwen
U.S. House of Representatives
Former Member, Ohio
Cleta Mitchell
Washington, DC
David Bozell
The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Former Domestic Advisor
President Ronald Reagan
The Honorable David McIntosh
Club for Growth
The Honorable Tony Perkins
Family Research Council
Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder & President
Tea Party Patriots
Adam Brandon
David N. Bossie
Citizens United
Gary L. Bauer
American Values
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and President
Family Talk
Diana L. Banister
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
Luke Hilgemann
Americans for Prosperity
Jason Jones
Movie to Movement
Rod D. Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization, Inc.
Sherri R. Martin
The Martin Foundation
Monty S. Warner
Plains States Legal Foundation
The Honorable Jerry Melvin
Florida Republican Assembly
Nicholas Stehle
Campaign for the American Future
Anthony Allen
Hannibal-LaGrange University
Mathew D. Staver, Esq.
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel
Tom DeLay
Former Majority Leader
US House of Representatives
Kelly Shackelford, Esq.
President, CEO & Chief Counsel
First Liberty Institute
Andrea Lafferty
Traditional Values Coalition
Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
Founder and Chairman
Traditional Values Coalition
Norm Singleton
Campaign for Liberty
Mario H. Lopez
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Ali Akbar
Senior Advisor
Black Conservatives Fund
Mark J. Fitzgibbons
President of Corporate Affairs
American Target Advertising, Inc.
Phil Kerpen
American Commitment
Susan Carleson
American Civil Rights Union
The Honorable Belden Bell
The Heritage Foundation
Andresen Blom
Executive Director
Grassroot Hawaii Action, Inc.
Dan Backer, Esq.
DB Capitol Strategies PLLC
The Honorable Mike Hill
State Representative
District 2
Allen J. Hebert
Chairman, American-Chinese
Fellowship of Houston
Tim Echols
Commissioner, State of Georgia
Founder, TeenPact
Brian C. Baker
Ending Spending
Kevin Kookogey
President and Founder
Linchpins of Liberty
Ken Boehm
National Legal and Policy Center
Gary Aldrich
President and Chairman of the Board
CNP Action, Inc.
Amy Ridenour
Chairman, National Center for
Public Policy Research
Trent England
David & Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Herman Cain
James Bopp, Jr.
James Madison Center for Free Speech
Richard A. Viguerie
Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
Gary A. Marx
Madison Strategies
Joseph A. Morris
Chicago, Illinois
Michael J. Bowen
Coalition For a Strong America
Stephani Scruggs
Coalition For a Strong America
Kathleen Patten
President and CEO
American Target Advertising, Inc.
Richard D. Gaby
A K Rikk’s
Charles J. Cooper 
Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
Michael R. Long,
State Chairman
NYS Conservative Party
Tim LeFever
Capitol Resource Institute
Heather R. Higgins
President and CEO
Independent Women’s Voice
Sabrina Schaeffer
Executive Director
Independent Women’s Forum
David Williams
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Somers H. White
Former State Senator
Somers White Co. Inc.
Pete Sepp
National Taxpayers Union & NTU Foundation                   
Jim Martin
60 Plus Association
Floyd Brown
Western Center for Journalism
Twila Brase
President and Co-founder
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom
Willes K. Lee
National Federation of Republican Assemblies
David W. Preston
Executive Director, Oklahoma
Wesleyan University Foundation
Bill Pascoe
Antietam Communications
Lewis K. Uhler
Founder and President
National Tax Limitation Committee
Col Francis X. De Luca USMCR(Ret)
Civitas Institute
Ellen Grigsby
Director of Institutional Partnerships
Open Doors USA
Craig Shirley
Reagan Biographer
Russell Ramsland
Founder, Park Cities/Preston Hollow
Leadership Forum
Joe Calvert
Rabon-Calvert Interests, Inc.
Tricia Erickson
President, Angel Pictures & Publicity, Inc.
Elaine Donnelly
Center for Military Readiness
Rick Scarborough
Vision America Action
Peter J. Thomas
Americans for Constitutional Liberty
Melissa Ortiz
Founder & Principal
Able Americans
Phillip Leo Jauregui
Judicial Action Group
Peter Weyrich
Conservative Activist
Bradley Mattes
Life Issues Institute
Thair Phillips
Sean Noble
American Encore
Pam Pryor
President and Owner