Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00…
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This Week's "Your Turn" Radio Show Lineup

Join CFIF Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President Renee Giachino today from 4:00 p.m. CDT to 6:00 p.m. CDT (that’s 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT) on Northwest Florida’s 1330 AM WEBY, as she hosts her radio show, “Your Turn: Meeting Nonsense with Commonsense.” Today’s guest lineup includes:

4:00 CDT/5:00 pm EDT: James Bacchus, Former U.S. Representative, Professor of Global Affairs at the University of Central Florida, and Adjunct Scholar at Cato Institute: Free Trade and Destiny;

4:15 CDT/5:15 pm EDT: John Hannah, Senior Counselor at Foundation for Defense of Democracies: US-China Relations;

4:30 CDT/5:30 pm EDT: Quin Hillyer, Contributor to the Washington Examiner and Author: Happenings Inside the Beltway;

5:00 CDT/6:00 pm EDT: Andrew Och, First Ladies Man and Author: The Legacy…[more]

December 10, 2018 • 03:51 pm

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Another High-Profile Politicized Termination Reconfirms Need For Congress to Protect Donor Privacy Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, November 15 2018
If high-level executives can be terminated upon discovery of their private donations to organizations that others find objectionable, what security exists for the rest of the population?

Imagine yourself at work one afternoon, when you're suddenly called into your boss's office, placed on leave and later terminated, simply because your coworkers found your political views objectionable. 

Alarmingly, that scenario becomes less and less hypothetical each day in America. 

We witnessed another high-profile illustration this week in a front-page headline in The Wall Street Journal, which detailed the disturbing treatment of former Facebook Inc. executive and Silicon Valley rising star Palmer Luckey. 

Back in 2016, Mr. Luckey donated $10,000 to an organization opposing Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy.  Despite his status as perhaps the most prominent face of the burgeoning virtual-reality industry and a Facebook executive, he found himself out of a job six short months later.  According to the Journal, his refusal to renounce his support for Donald Trump was the basis of his termination: 

Internal Facebook emails suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company.  In the fall of 2016, as unhappiness over the donation simmered, Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg pressured Mr. Luckey to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, despite Mr. Luckey's yearslong support of Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations and internal emails viewed by The Wall Street Journal

That episode parallels a similar tale involving Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, who donated to a pro-traditional marriage organization and was consequently forced from his position despite the fact that the company itself wouldn't have even existed without him. 

If high-level executives can be terminated upon discovery of their private donations to organizations that others find objectionable, what security exists for the rest of the population? 

Unfortunately, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policy exacerbated that problem for years. 

Until the Trump Administration intervened recently, the IRS had required private non-profit organizations to file what's known as a "990 Schedule B" form, which contained the names, addresses and other sensitive personal information of many donors to those organizations.  Curiously, the IRS was prohibited by law from actually using that information for any meaningful purpose, which made it puzzling that it was collected at all. 

While IRS collection of that information served no substantive purpose, however, it did subject private citizens to harassment from rogue IRS officials or outside hackers.  For example, donors to the National Organization for Marriage had their personal information leaked. 

In addition, far-left attorneys general capitalized upon IRS collection of that information to demand access to confidential donor information contained in Schedule B forms regarding donors and organizations whose political views on such issues as climate change were considered intolerable and therefore subject to state harassment. 

In 1958, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled in NAACP v. Alabama that collecting and exposing private information on donors in similar manner impermissibly chilled the First Amendment rights of both donors and the organizations they support: 

"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." 

As we've witnessed more and more often recently, the same logic applies today. 

To its immense credit, the Trump Administration finally changed that official government policy earlier this year.  Today, certain tax-exempt groups are no longer compelled to surrender sensitive private donor information to the government via Schedule B forms. 

Now, however, Senators Jon Tester (D - Montana) and Ron Wyden (D - Oregon) have introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse that commonsense policy.  They apparently disagree with the straightforward concept that citizens shouldn't be subjected to targeting by IRS officials or vindictive hackers for exercising their First Amendment right to donate to causes and organizations whose missions they support. 

Optimally, Congress should pass legislation to protect donor privacy and end IRS abuse by permanently prohibiting the IRS from collecting the information contained on Schedule B forms.  But at the very least, it should make quick work of rejecting the dangerous attempt by Senators Tester and Wyden to undermine Americans' First Amendment rights of free speech and political participation. 

The threat to people like Palmer Luckey and Brendan Eich, as well as everyday Americans across the country, should be ended once and for all. 

Question of the Week   
The son of which one of the following U.S. politicians currently serves as a Marine aviator aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"The particulars might be different, but the upheavals playing out in Britain and France this week have familiar and common undercurrents, born of the same forces - rebellion against globalization, fear of immigrants and distrust of traditional leaders - that have stoked discontent in Germany and other European countries and that are roiling politics in the United States.Instability appears to be…[more]
 
 
—Dan Balz, The Washington Post
— Dan Balz, The Washington Post
 
Liberty Poll   

For family Christmas giving this year, are you spending more than usual, about the same as usual, or less than usual?