Monday, April 23, 2012
IRS Accused of Improperly Releasing 501(c)(3) Donor Information Tying Romney to Same-Sex Marriage Opponent
The National Organization for Marriage, a section 501(c)(3) organization supporting traditional marriage, released documents alleging showing that an unredacted Schedule B to its 2008 Form 990 that was obtained by the Human Rights Campaign and given to the Huffington Post must have come from the copy of the form filed with the IRS. In a letter to the IRS, NOM asserts that it was able to remove a layer of redacting on the Schedule to reveal IRS added information, including an "OFFICIAL USE ONLY" stamp. The information revealed was particularly explosive because it showed a $10,000 donation from a Mitt Romney connected political action committee, Free and Strong America PAC, as well as the names of 49 other significant donors to NOM.
If true, this is a very serious situation as it suggests someone inside the IRS has decided to leak confidential taxpayer information, almost certainly for political reasons. Yet there has been surprisingly little if any news coverage of this story, other than in the tax trade press (Tax Notes Today (subscription required)) and a blog entry at the Weekly Standard. While media bias with respect to coverage of the same-sex marriage debate could be the explanation, another possibility is that despite much rhetoric about the importance of taxpayer privacy, in the age of Facebook and Twitter people view such privacy as much less important - particularly when it comes to donations to charities - than is generally assumed.