Mark J. Fitzgibbons writes:
Following revelations in the Watergate investigations that Richard Nixon and his staff used tax return information of individuals for political purposes such as auditing his “enemies,” Congress amended the tax code to strengthen protections of tax information privacy to prevent “potential and actual disclosure” among government officials and employees.
A recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals involving two 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, one founded by the Koch brothers, has blown the doors off such privacy protections when the would-be ‘Nixons’ are state officials.
In Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California, issued on December 29, the court ruled that Ms. Harris may use a licensing requirement to obtain donor names and addresses listed in Schedule B of federal tax returns of nonprofit organizations.
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