This morning brought yet another disappointing monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.  While…
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Image of the Day: Another Disappointing Jobs Report Under Biden, and an Increasingly Likely Explanation

This morning brought yet another disappointing monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.  While the Biden Administration continues to blindly insist that potential employees sitting on the sidelines because of cushy government unemployment payouts aren't the problem, the people who actually hire people in order to continue their operations seem to recognize a different story.  Over 9 in 10 say that worker shortages are weighing them down - far and away their biggest problem.  We know the workers are out there, but they're not taking the available jobs.

 …[more]

June 04, 2021 • 10:17 AM

Liberty Update

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Trump Administration Secures Victory for Donor Privacy and 1st Amendment Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, May 28 2020
By issuing final regulations relieving non-profit organizations of the requirement to provide names, addresses and other identifying information on donors via Schedule B forms as part of their annual tax filing obligations with the IRS, private citizens can feel more secure in supporting organizations whose missions accord with their own beliefs.

Yet more welcome news arrived this week from the Trump Administration, as the United States Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations protecting the First Amendment rights of donors to certain non-profit organizations. 

For too long, as the Lois Lerner scandal illustrated, government officials have targeted and persecuted private American citizens simply on the basis of political belief. 

Thanks to the Trump Administration, however, along with critical leadership from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Kentucky), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R - Louisiana), Congressman Kevin Brady (R – Texas) and other Members of Congress, the Treasury Department and IRS are finally rectifying that situation. 

At issue is what’s known as a “990 Schedule B” form, by which the IRS for years collected sensitive private information on nonprofit groups and their donors.  Specifically, it contains the names, addresses and other intimate information of donors, which obviously exposes non-profit organizations and private supporters to targeting and abuse. 

And all too often, that’s precisely what happened.  Rogue IRS officials and politically extremist outside hackers repeatedly accessed sensitive Schedule B information to target private citizens for no other reason than their support of organizations deemed politically intolerable.  The National Organization for Marriage’s confidential donor records were leaked, perfectly law-abiding citizens were chased from their jobs and harassed at their homes and hyper-partisan state attorneys general demanded access to the confidential donor information in pursuit of such crusades as climate change shaming. 

Outrageously, the IRS insisted on collecting that sensitive donor information even though applicable laws prohibited it from using it for any substantive purpose.  The IRS itself openly acknowledged that Schedule B information is irrelevant to oversight of filings or enforcement of the tax code, and previous IRS Commissioners questioned the need for Schedule B forms while admitting that the IRS can't guarantee confidentiality of the information contained in them. 

In this era of persecution of private citizens for their political beliefs, that’s simply intolerable. 

It also contravenes clear Supreme Court precedent.  In NAACP v. Alabama (1958) a unanimous Court held that government officials couldn’t force the NAACP to disclose sensitive membership data, because that would chill First Amendment activity by exposing supporters to retaliation: 

"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." 

From Lois Lerner to the National Organization for Marriage experience, that logic maintains even greater force today, when a simple internet connection can facilitate targeting and harassment from thousands of miles away. 

Although Congressional conservatives in recent years introduced legislation to prohibit the IRS from continuing to force non-profit groups to surrender confidential donor information via Schedule B forms, such commonsense proposals were scuttled by leftists who seemed to think that federal, state and local government officials should maintain access to sensitive data that the IRS itself admitted wasn’t used for enforcement or other legal purposes. 

Fortunately, the Trump Administration brought welcome leadership in ending this indefensible IRS practice and bolstering Americans’ First Amendment rights.  By issuing final regulations relieving non-profit organizations of the requirement to provide names, addresses and other identifying information on donors via Schedule B forms as part of their annual tax filing obligations with the IRS, private citizens can feel more secure in supporting organizations whose missions accord with their own beliefs. 

That’s the very essence of the First Amendment, and the Trump Administration, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Whip Scalise deserve immense credit. 

CFIF has for years spearheaded a broad coalition effort to eliminate the Schedule B requirement, including filing formal comments in support of the rulemaking, and this offers a welcome vindication of First Amendment rights and the rule of law.

Quiz Question   
What was the highest year-over-year inflation rate since the consumer price index has been used to calculate it?
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Notable Quote   
 
"President Biden isn't known for austerity, except when it comes to defense.As part of his (welcome) emphasis on competition with China, Biden cajoled European countries at the G-7 summit into releasing a statement critical of Beijing. He also announced an infrastructure program meant to counter China's Belt and Road Initiative.That's all good, as far as it goes, but a glaring omission from Biden'…[more]
 
 
—Rich Lowry, National Review Editor
— Rich Lowry, National Review Editor
 
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