Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 966

IRS Logo 2Following up on my previous coverage (here, here, and here):  Breitbart, Koch Brothers May Have to Disclose Donor List to California:

The San Francisco Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a U.S. District Court judge to give authority to California Attorney General Kamala Harris to obtain the donor list from the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity Foundation.  [Americans for Prosperity v. Harris, No.  15-55446 (9th Cir. Dec. 29, 2015)].

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation was founded by Charles and David Koch as a national foundation in 2004 and registered in all states, including California, as a nonprofit organization promoting limited government and free markets by educating individuals around the country about practical ways to improve their circumstances. It became one of the most influential American conservative political advocacy organizations after the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. ...

But AFP became the number one target of elected Democrat officials and their constituencies for the role the organization played in breaking Democrat majority control of the House of Representatives in 2010 and the U.S. Senate in 2014.

AFP has complied with the filing requirements with the Internal Revenue Service each year for over a decade and disclosed its nationwide list of major donors’ names and addresses on tax form “Schedule B” for a nonprofit charity. Federal criminal statutes protect the constitutional right to privacy by forbidding the IRS to make any unauthorized disclosure of charity donors to a 501(c)4 non-profit.

For a decade, California accepted AFP’s charitable registrations and renewals without need for filing Schedule Bs. But in 20014, California Attorney General and candidate for U.S. Senate Kamala Harris suddenly began demanding Schedule Bs under threat of draconian sanctions, such as personal fines against a charity’s officers. ...

AFP in February was granted a preliminary injunction protecting against disclosure of the Foundation’s Schedule B by the district court after considering evidence of threats, violence, and harassment directed at the Foundation, as attested to in sworn affidavits and confirmed by accompanying documentation.

The court stated:“Public disclosure of [the Foundation’s] Schedule B, and thus the names and addresses of its donors, would open those persons up to harassment, retaliation, and chilling of free speech.” It added: “These negative consequences would objectively work to chill protected First Amendment speech.”

But a three-judge Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel overturned the lower court judge, allowing California Attorney General Kamala Harris access to information from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation while the group’s lawsuit is being decided. The appeals panel’s unanimous decision said that AFP failed to show reason to fear disclosure. ...

Derek Shaffer, Americans for Prosperity, said AFP will immediately appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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This is the same tactic Democrats used against the NAACP during the Civil Rights years. And once again, going after donor lists seems to be rather one sided. Democrats have a corruption problem that is sea to sea and at all levels of government.

Posted by: wodun | Dec 31, 2015 12:19:00 PM

To clarify further, if this information is only allowed to collected by the Democratic California AG, it wouldn 't be long until it was anonymously leaked, even if public disclosure was prohibited. It's not like Democratic officials haven't leaked confidential information of their perceived political opponents before.

Posted by: Woody | Dec 31, 2015 11:58:03 AM

Intimidation is what this evil prosecutor is after.

Posted by: Teapartydoc | Dec 31, 2015 11:50:27 AM

To clarify, the Ninth Circuit only reversed the injunction against the collection of this information by the California AG, and left in place the injunction against the public disclosure of this information by the California AG.

Posted by: Gus Santorano | Dec 31, 2015 9:21:51 AM