Today we co-counseled the filing of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Patriotic Veterans, a nonprofit organization based in Illinois. This Petition brings to the High Court a First Amendment challenge to an Indiana law barring most nonprofit organizations from using automated dialing equipment to conduct issue advocacy and grassroots lobbying. Our Petition explains that the First Amendment, as reaffirmed by a long line of Supreme Court decisions, vests in each homeowner the right to decide whether to receive a visitor at a door, and that same principle applies to receiving a message delivered by telephone. State legislators are often annoyed when constituents learn what bills are pending, and what is going on behind closed doors in the legislature. They are particularly annoyed when constituents besiege them with messages telling them how they want them to vote. However, state legislators have no right to enact laws to shut down issue advocacy and grassroots lobbying, intruding themselves between nonprofit organizations like Patriotic Veterans and the people of Indiana.
Today we filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit opposing efforts by the Attorney General of New York from implementing new procedures requiring every nonprofit organization which solicits funds in that state to provide him with the names, addresses, and donation amounts of the organization’s largest donors. Although the Attorney General of New York insists that the information would be kept by him and not shared with the public, the First Amendment protects Americans from divulging their anonymous political activities to politicians — especially highly political politicians like state attorney generals — who know how to use their discretionary power to chill the political activities of wealthy individuals.
On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition and Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, we submitted comments to the IRS asking it to protect the confidentiality the donor lists of nonprofit organizations. The IRS had invited comments on its Publication 1075 relating to security guidelines for government agencies in possession of confidential tax
Today we filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit for the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, the Free Speech Coalition and other nonprofits attacking a new interpretation of law by the the California Attorney General. Under this new interpretation, as a per-condition to soliciting contributions in California, each charity must provide provide the Attorney General with its IRS Form 990 Schedule B which identifies the charity’s largest donors
Taking a page out of Orwell’s novel 1984, the Ohio Elections Commission operates as a modern “Ministry of Truth’ — with the power to “determine” and “proclaim” the truth or falsity of every statement made during an Ohio political campaign. Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that the government has no legitimate role whatsoever to play in guiding Americans as to how to vote.
Today, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioner National Taxpayers Union. At issue in this case is the constitutionality of a statute — section 1140 of the Social Security Act — which was misused to uphold significant penalties against National Taxpayers Union for engaging in core political speech, entitled to the strongest First Amendment protection possible. The amicus brief submits that the court of appeals erred by failing to apply correctly certain precedents of the Supreme Court, and that the decision of the court of appeals, if allowed to stand, would impede the free exercise of core political speech by persons and organizations critical of government policies and programs.
With the House of Representatives soon to vote on the lobbying reform bill, the Campaign Legal Center has issued a memo arguing that grassroots restrictions are clearly constitutional under existing law. We prepared this analysis for the Free Speech Coalition explaining why such restrictions are unconstitutional, and why the analysis of the Campaign Legal Center is flawed.
On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, we submitted post-hearing comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance relating to its staff report and June 22, 2004 hearings on “Charity Oversight and Reform: Keeping Bad Things from Happening to Good Charities.” The comments point out shortcomings of many of the proposed solutions contained in the discussion draft.
On behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, we filed comments with the U.S. Postal Service expressing the concern that the proposed regulations, which clarify the type of mail that must be entered at First-Class rates and that which is eligible for Standard mail rates, would inappropriately shift much educational mail from Nonprofit Standard to First-Class rates.
Today, Bill Olson presented a statement on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition to the Committee on Consumer Protection of the New York State Senate. The Senate Committee had sought input on the “public disclosure of charities rates of donor retention and use, industry regulation and the adequacy of current laws pertaining to charitable telemarketing solicitation.”
Our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, American Target Advertising, Inc., Eberle Communications Group, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, English First, Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and Citizens United Foundation in support of respondents Telemarketing Associates, Inc., et al.
Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund focusing on the lack of procedural due process that inexorably attaches to the Postal Service’s interpretation of 39 U.S.C. section 3626(j)(1)(B) that its decisions as to who can mail what at nonprofit rates are not reviewable in federal court. Our constitutional analysis supplies the court with an additional reason for construing 39 U.S.C. section 410(a) narrowly.
Bill Olson was quoted today by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette describing how a letter circulated by the Free Speech Coalition stalled momentum for a bill requiring the disclosure of contributors to nonprofit organizations.
Our firm filed comments on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition, Inc. with the Internal Revenue Service regarding IRS temporary regulations relating to excise taxes on excess benefit transactions under section 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code. These comments were discussed on the front page of the April 30, 2001 issue of EOTR (Exempt Organization Tax Review) Weekly
Our firm filed the brief of Free Speech Defense and Education Fund as amici curiae in support of petitioner in American Target Advertising, Inc. v. Francine A. Giani, Division Director, Utah Division of Consumer Protection in the United States Supreme Court. The brief argues that Utah’s Charitable Solicitations Act is unconstitutional. The Free Speech Defense and Education Fund was joined by 47 co-amici.
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