The US Congress voted yesterday to "bar the Internal Revenue Service from requiring nonprofit groups to list their donors on tax returns, saying the agency has failed to keep the information confidential." (Washington Post). In response to the bill, "The White House threatened a veto, saying the bill would impede the ability of the IRS to enforce tax laws and reduce transparency for private groups and foundations that are active in politics."
Of all the matters that have great import to nonprofits (e.g. poverty) that I believe the US Congress should be addressing, spending precious time telling the IRS it shouldn't require nonprofits to list their donors is in my opinion, misguided energy.
But, I do agree with the White House position on this matter and don't understand why anyone would argue otherwise. If indeed nonprofits are given their tax "free" status by the federal government with the understanding that the nonprofit will faithfully pursue the mission for which its exemption was given, why shouldn't that nonprofit also be required to tell the public who in addition to the board and staff, share a commitment to the same mission? Why should who contributes be held a secret? Who exactly loses because donor interests are known by the public? Do donors to "some" causes have reason to be embarrassed about their chosen "charities".
Come-on Congress, you can do better than this!