Rep. Paul Cook Votes To Prevent IRS Abuse
WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 5053, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act. The bill passed on the House floor.
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to limit the information that a tax-exempt organization must report about its donors on its annual information return. Under current law, some organizations that are tax-exempt must report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on their Schedule B the names and addresses or other identifying information of contributors of $5,000 or more. The bill would limit the Secretary of the Treasury from requiring identifying information of most donors.
Already, any identifying information about those donors is generally not subject to public disclosure and can be redacted by the organization when making their returns publicly available. Courts have found that states do not have the right to have access to unredacted Schedule B forms. However, there has been controversy when IRS employees have “accidentally” leaked the Schedule B form and the personally identifiable information of conservative donors.
Cook said, “The IRS has shown a disregard for protecting people’s personal information. There’s no reason for the IRS to have this data in the first place. This bill ensures that we aren’t overburdening non-profit organizations with filing superfluous documentation and also protects donors from wrongly being targeted for their personal beliefs. ”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.