We at CFIF have been emphasizing the threat posed by new drug price controls inexplicably contemplated…
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Drug Price Controls Would Kill Innovation

We at CFIF have been emphasizing the threat posed by new drug price controls inexplicably contemplated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  In December, CFIF filed formal Comment opposing that ill-advised proposal, and hopefully wiser minds will prevail before the damage is done.  In similar vein, The Wall Street Journal ran a welcome commentary entitled "The Drug Price-Control Threat" on January 8 of this year, and a followup letter from reader Bruce Zessar of Highland Park, Illinois in today's edition offers a personal, real-world illustration of what could be lost:

Insulin isn't the same now as when it was discovered a century ago.  My wife is a Type I diabetic, diagnosed when she was 14 in 1980.  She has been a beneficiary of the tremendous advances in insulin…[more]

January 16, 2019 • 02:08 pm

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Pelosi House’s Top Priority: Chilling First Amendment Speech and Privacy Rights Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 10 2019
Collecting and maintaining donor profiles only opens the door to vindictive government officials, employers, neighbors or anyone with a grudge to obtain such sensitive information in order to target others out of sheer political disagreement.

Well, the new Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives has made its top priority clear. 

It's outing American citizens for their political beliefs and the causes they support, threatening our First Amendment freedoms of speech, association and political participation. 

Among the provisions of the just-introduced H.R. 1, to which they’ve affixed the Orwellian title "For the People Act of 2019," donors to non-profit organizations would have their identifying personal information forcibly disclosed to government authorities and potential hackers. 

Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D - New York) and leftists insist on knowing which causes and types of organizations you support, even if those organizations don't even endorse or oppose political candidates. 

What could possibly go wrong? 

This sort of agenda possesses a long and sordid history.

In fact, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court condemned the practice in a 1958 decision involving segregationist state government demands to access identifying information on supporters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in NAACP v. Alabama.  The Court rightfully recognized that forcing the NAACP to surrender its membership rolls to antagonistic government officials or vindictive members of the general public would threaten members' safety and the organization's very existence: 

"This Court has recognized the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations.  Compelled disclosure of membership in an organization engaged in advocacy of particular beliefs is of the same order.  Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs."

More recently, rogue IRS officials like Lois Lerner have targeted organizations and donors whose viewpoints they find objectionable.  Similarly, state attorneys general have sought access to donor and membership information, so that they could harass and silence groups and their supporters. 

Moreover, the potential threat isn't limited to malfeasant government officials, whether at the federal, state or local levels.  As just one example, donor records for the National Organization for Marriage were leaked, exposing those donors to potential harassment or even worse threats.  Across the nation, people have been terminated from employment, stalked at their homes and had their workplaces picketed merely because they supported causes that someone out there detested. 

That sort of harassment is only possible if government is allowed to forcibly collect and retain information identifying people for the beliefs they support.  And for years, that's exactly what it did. 

Until very recently, the IRS required non-profit organizations to file something known as a "990 Schedule B" form.  Those forms revealed the names, addresses and other private information regarding many of the organizations' donors.  That, in turn, exposed those donors to the sort of targeting and threats described above. 

Here's the kicker:  The IRS was prohibited by law from actually utilizing that private information for any substantive purpose.  In other words, all that collecting such private information did was expose people to harassment, since government officials wouldn't use it for official business. 

Fortunately, the Trump Administration finally ended that practice of IRS collection last year.  It clarified that non-profit groups would no longer be forced to surrender the sort of private identifying information on certain donors to the government. 

A subsequent effort by Senators Jon Tester (D - Montana) and Ron Wyden (D - Oregon) to overturn the Trump Administration action last year rightfully failed.  But now Pelosi and the more leftist House she leads stubbornly seek another shot. 

There's simply no defensible logic to reviving the old practice.  The only thing that collecting private information on donors does is frighten people away from supporting causes that people like Pelosi or Schumer find intolerable.  Collecting and maintaining donor profiles only opens the door to vindictive government officials, employers, neighbors or anyone with a grudge to obtain such sensitive information in order to target others out of sheer political disagreement. 

This effort deserves to die yet another death, and American citizens should not be misled into believing that it's anything other than a threat to our First Amendment freedoms. 

The Trump Administration merits our praise for its fortitude on this issue, and the cause demands our continued vigilance. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following countries provided most of the U.S. immigrants in 2016?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Conservatives complain about government constantly. But if there's one agency hated by people across the political spectrum, it is the Transportation Security Administration.This agency, created in late 2001, is known by alternative acronyms such as 'Thousands Standing Around,' and anyone who has flown on a busy day understands why. On every trip, one inevitably gets the perception that innumerable…[more]
 
 
—The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
 
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