Considering the Obama Administration’s well-documented willingness to use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a political weapon to intimidate, silence and bankrupt organizations and individuals who oppose the president, a proposed IRS rule to force charities, churches and nonprofits to report the Social Security numbers of donors to the IRS could dry up donations and run them out of business.
In response to the proposed rule, the Tea Party Patriots – a target of the IRS in the past – has launched a nationwide email and social media campaign encouraging supporters and conservative leaders to kill the proposed a rule before it is finalized and becomes law.
As part of an interview with The Daily Signal, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said:
“They don’t need to be collecting Social Security numbers. Donations to nonprofits are allowed to be kept confidential.”
“Having gone through the [IRS] targeting [of conservative groups] because our name is Tea Party Patriots, I’m very sensitive to anything that expands the IRS’ reach into nonprofits and who their donors are.”
The goal of the campaign is to urge citizens to post comments against the proposed rule to the public record – a comment period that ends on December 16 leaving the Tea Party Patriots and every other charity, church or non-profit organization covered under the proposed rule virtually no time to register their objections.
In addition to the “comment campaign” Tea Party Patriots also be launched its own page where visitors and supporters can express their opposition to the regulation.
“We’ve seen that the IRS has successfully targeted organizations, and employees of the IRS have abused the power of the agency against people they perceive as political opponents,” Martin said.
“Having more information about who supports those organizations would give them the potential to continue the abuse of power and hurt the individuals, not just the groups. That’s the danger of it.”
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation cited recent revelations that the IRS leaked confidential donor information filed by conservative groups, to the news media and political opposition groups.
“Just think if they had leaked not only the names of the donors, but Social Security numbers,” von Spakovsky said. “I don’t trust the government to have that information, and there’s no reason for them to have that information.”
In the aftermath of leaks by the IRS of confidential donor information submitted by conservative groups by law, donors came under withering attack in the media and radical left groups seeking to dry up financial donations to targeted groups.
For now, the proposed IRS regulation would make it optional for nonprofits to collect the Social Security numbers of donors of more than $250. Martin fears the proposed regulation could become mandatory with a stroke of a pen affecting nonprofits with political leanings but smaller groups as well.
“Small Junior Leagues or civic organizations around the country would also wind up being affected, and not just Tea Party groups, but civic groups have to keep information secure,” Martin said.
“It adds to the bookkeeping process and would have a negative effect on organizations that are designed to help make communities better.”