New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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OMB Watch letter to the IRS on Charities' Internet Use: Part 1

Letter to the IRS from OMB Watch in regards to internet use and exempt organizations. February 13, 2001 Judith Kindell Internal Revenue Service 1111 Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20224 RE: Announcement 2000-84: Request for Comments Regarding the Need for Guidance Clarifying Application of the Internal Revenue Code to Use of the Internet by Exempt Organizations Dear Ms. Kindell,

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OMB Watch Letter to Congress Opposing HR7

The following is the text of a letter from OMB Watch to Congress on HR 7. July 16, 2001 Dear Member: The President's faith-based initiative, H.R. 7, the “Community Solutions Act,” will likely be on the House floor this week, probably on Wednesday, July 18. OMB Watch strongly urges you to oppose the bill. We do so not simply out of opposition to the “charitable choice” provisions, but also because the charitable giving provisions, particularly the non-itemizer deduction, have become too watered down.

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State Update: Michigan

As previously reported, the Michigan House was considering a bill that would prohibit Michigan nonprofits from using any resources that are "from a public body or a person acting on behalf of a public body" for advocacy around a state ballot initiative. This language was dropped from the bill before House passage, but House Speaker Rick Johnson (R) has said the language will likely end up "in another set of legislation." There has been no indication when this will come up again.

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"Paycheck Protection" in Michigan

The Michigan Nonprofit Association reports that the Michigan Senate passed a bill (S.B. 759) that prohibits Michigan nonprofits from using any resources that are "from a public body or a person acting on behalf of a public body" for advocacy around a state ballot initiative. The bill also prohibits charities from endorsing or opposing a candidate, which is already forbidden by IRS regulations.

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Michigan Bill Would Expand Charitable Choice

A bill that would allow the Michigan Family Independence Agency (FIA) to fund religious organizations or convert social welfare programs to vouchers has passed in the Children & Family Services committee by a 5-2 vote. The bill (HB 5316), sponsored by Rep. Mark Jansen (R-72nd), would extend problematic provisions of federal welfare reform into every program funded through FIA, and could also result in dismantling of programs in favor of vouchers. Known as “charitable choice”, this legislation would impact Michigan in the following ways:

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Colloquy To Clarify FEC Role In Creating Exemptions For Nonpartisan Issue Advocacy

Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) and Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) have agreed to a colloquy on the House floor during debate of their campaign finance reform bill that will address protections for nonpartisan issue advocacy. The colloquy, proposed by OMB Watch and Independent Sector, will make it clear that the Federal Election Commission should use the authority granted in the bill to conduct a rulemaking on exemptions allowing nonpartisan issue advocacy broadcasts during election cycles. The FEC would be required to act within 90 days of the effective date of the new law.

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Faith-Based Initiative: Summary of Compromise Bill

For months Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) have indicated willingness to work out a compromise with the White House on the President's proposed Faith Based Initiative. The issue stalled after the House passed its version (HR 7) last summer.

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FEC Won't Appeal Ruling Against Its Regulated Communications Definition

As the 2002 election cycle approaches, nonprofits wanting to know whether their public statements are unregulated issue advocacy or regulated electioneering ("express advocacy") will have to consult a map for the answers. The reason is that federal appeals courts in different parts of the country have issued contradictory rulings on whether or not the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) definition of what constitutes "express advocacy" is constitutional.

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Campaign Finance Reform Nearing Goal In House

Last July the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill (H.R. 2356) stalled in the House of Representatives over a procedural rule that campaign finance reform advocates said would have unfairly limited debate on the bill. A petition to discharge the bill from committee to the House floor gained strong momentum within days of being filed, and had 205 of the necessary 218 votes by the time Congress recessed on August 3. Then the issue was put on the back burner in the fall while Congress concentrated on the national response to the September 11 attacks.

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Massachusetts Court Orders Implementation of Clean Elections Law

On January 25th Massachusetts highest court ordered the legislature to either implement the state's new clean elections law or repeal it. The Supreme Judicial Court said the legislature had violated the state Constitution by refusing to appropriate funds required.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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