Adding to the list of complaints involving the IRS, this week, John Eastman, chairman of the board for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), testified before the House Committee on Ways and Means regarding last year’s illegal disclosure of the organization’s donors.
In March 2012, NOM’s 2008 federal tax return (form 990-Schedule B)—which listed the names and addresses of NOM donors—was uploaded to the websites of the Human Rights Campaign and the Huffington Post. Computer analysts determined that the document’s leak came from within the IRS.
According to Eastman, “the willful unauthorized public disclosure of NOM’s 2008 Schedule B by the IRS or its employees is a violation of federal law. Indeed, it is a serious felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in federal prison, penalties that apply both to IRS and other government employees and third parties.”
Moreover, Eastman testified that leaking the names of donors has a “chilling” effect that deters donors from future giving for fear of reprisal, intimidation, and harassment. Numerous cases of hostility toward those who support traditional marriage have been documented.
Seeking answers, NOM made written requests for investigation to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and the Department of Justice, of which no final action or resolution has occurred.
NOM has yet to receive responses to its Freedom of Information Act requests to both the IRS and TIGTA.
Eastman concluded his statement:
Stonewalled in its attempts to discover on its own the source of the felonious conduct against it, NOM has also received no satisfaction from the law enforcement authorities of the United States, whose duty it is to prosecute felonious disclosure of confidential tax returns.
At the hearing, other conservative groups testified about unusual difficulties they encountered in obtaining tax-exempt status. Kevin Kookogey of Linchpins of Liberty faced abnormally long delays and “intrusive” questions in its application for tax-exempt status, including requests for names of the organization’s members—including minors. Sue Martinek of the Coalition for Life of Iowa said the IRS heavily scrutinized her group, including asking prying questions regarding the subject matter of the pro-life group’s prayers.