Senate Democrats are expected to soon force a vote on S.J.Res.64, a congressional resolution of disapproval of the Trump administration rule rolling back the Schedule B disclosure requirements for non-profits. 

ATR urges all Senators to vote “NO” on this resolution.

The Trump admin decision to roll back reporting requirements for the Schedule B form earlier this year was a major win for free speech and efforts to protect non-profits. The rule also in no way limited or curbed transparency in politics as the same information on non-profits will continue to be available to the public.

S.J.Res 64 would undo this progress and again chill political free speech.

Congress first required section 501(c)(3) organizations to send the IRS to personal information of their donors 50 years ago. This information, which includes the names and addresses of donors, is submitted to the IRS on the Schedule B form. The agency later extended this requirement to all other tax-exempt organizations including 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s.

Schedule B forms are not used for any official purpose and the IRS is prohibited from sharing or disclosing this sensitive information. Instead of serving a legitimate purpose, the disclosure requirement creates needlessly compliance costs on both non-profits and the IRS.

In fact, the Schedule B form has recently become a tool for unelected bureaucrats to chill political speech.

Under the Obama administration, there were several cases where agency officials leaked the sensitive information contained on Schedule B forms for political purposes, such as leaking of the schedule B belonging to the National Organization for Marriage.

The IRS record of protecting taxpayers is poor in this space – a 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office warned that the IRS may still be unfairly targeting non-profits “based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.”

The Trump rule ending the collection of Schedule B forms is a step in the right direction toward protecting free speech in a way that also upholds transparency in the political process. Senators should stand with this rule and vote NO on S.J.Res 64.