Elsewhere online
June 15, 2016

House Approves Bill to End IRS Donor-Disclosure Mandate

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to bar the Internal Revenue Service from requiring that nonprofits list $5,000-plus contributors in their annual tax filings, The Wall Street Journalf and USA Today report.

The 240-182 vote broke down along party lines, with Republicans supporting a measure they contend will protect free speech and prevent the government and others from harassing politically active donors. The bill is also supported by Charlies and David Koch's network of conservative nonprofits, which has fought donor-disclosure requirements in court.

The IRS pledges to keep donor information confidential but has acknowledged such lists have inadvertently been made public on occasion. Democratic critics say the bill will further open the door for secret donors to influence elections. The Obama administration also opposes the measure, saying it would restrict IRS enforcement of tax laws and reduce transparency in the nonprofit world. State-level regulators have argued that the disclosure ban would hamstring their efforts to police charity fraud.

The bill is the latest salvo in House Republicans’ battle with the IRS, which has intensified since revelations in 2013 that the tax agency subjected applications for nonprofit status from Tea Party groups to heightened scrutiny. A House committee is slated to vote Wednesday on a GOP call to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, whom conservatives accuse of hampering investigations of the alleged targeting.