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

June 13, 2016
Washington, DC

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

Rod D. Martin

Founder and CEO

The Martin Organization, Inc.

The Honorable Bob McEwen

U.S. House of Representatives

Former Member, Ohio

Cleta Mitchell


Washington, DC

Sherri R. Martin


The Martin Foundation

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

L. Brent Bozell, III

Founder & President

Media Research Center


David Bozell



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