Republican Senators Introduce Bill to Increase Fines for Leaking Donor Information

Two Republican Senators, Todd Young and James Lankford, have introduced the Protecting Charitable Giving Act, a bill aimed at increasing fines for unauthorized disclosures of anonymous donor information to protect donor privacy and prevent foreign influence in American politics. The legislation follows high-profile leaks of wealthy taxpayer information and seeks to strengthen penalties for leaking donor information, ensuring trust in charitable organizations and maintaining the integrity of the nonprofit sector." This description focuses on the primary topic (the Protecting Charitable Giving Act), the main entities (Senators Todd Young and James Lankford), the context (the nonprofit sector and concerns over donor privacy and foreign influence), and the significant actions and implications (increasing fines for unauthorized disclosures and protecting donor privacy). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content.

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Republican Senators Introduce Bill to Increase Fines for Leaking Donor Information

Republican Senators Introduce Bill to Increase Fines for Leaking Donor Information

Republican Senators Todd Young of Indiana and James Lankford of Oklahoma have introduced the Protecting Charitable Giving Act, a bill aimed at increasing fines for unauthorized disclosures of anonymous donor information from $5,000 to a minimum of $10,000 and up to $250,000. The move comes amid concerns over foreign donations to tax-exempt nonprofits and high-profile leaks of wealthy taxpayer information by IRS officials to news outlets, which have spooked parts of the nonprofit sector.

Why this matters: This legislation has significant implications for the nonprofit sector, as it addresses concerns over donor privacy and the potential for foreign influence in American politics. Strengthening penalties for leaking donor information can help maintain trust in charitable organizations and ensure that donations are used for their intended purposes.

The legislation follows incidents such as the New York attorney general's office inadvertently making public the donors of a "small number" of charitable organizations, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley suing the New York attorney general for allegedly leaking the donor list for her nonprofit, Stand for America. The bill is backed by the Philanthropy Roundtable, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, and Americans for Prosperity.

In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutional right to donor privacy and anonymous giving in the AFPF v. Bonta decision. The new legislation updates current law to ensure suitable penalties for criminals who leak Americans' private information and expands options for organizations and individuals to pursue criminal prosecution if their private donor information is leaked.

"Anonymous giving has long been a way for Americans to support philanthropic organizations that rely on generous charitable contributions. In recent years, donor privacy has been threatened on too many occasions," said Sen. Todd Young. "This legislation will address the disclosure of donor data to better protect both charitable organizations and their donors."

Sen. James Lankford added, "Nonprofits and their donors are an essential safety net for our communities—providing food, housing, and care to those who need it most. Oklahomans shouldn't worry about their identities being made public after they provide a donation to a charitable organization. Millions of donors want to do something good without being recognized. We should honor their privacy as they care for others. "

The Protecting Charitable Giving Act aims to increase fines for unauthorized disclosures of anonymous donor information from $5,000 to $250,000, updates current law to ensure suitable penalties for criminals who leak Americans' private information, and expands options for organizations and individuals to pursue criminal prosecution if their private donor information is leaked. The bill would allow the leak to be prosecuted in the jurisdiction where the affected donor lives.

Philanthropy Roundtable President and CEO Christie Herrera said, "The Protecting Charitable Giving Act makes much-needed updates to the laws that protect charitable donors, and it grants new recourse to those whose private donor information has been leaked. The right to associate with others who share one's values and beliefs—and to do so privately—is vital to preserving the freedom that lies at the heart of the American experiment."

Key Takeaways

  • Senators Todd Young and James Lankford introduce the Protecting Charitable Giving Act.
  • The bill increases fines for unauthorized donor info disclosures from $5,000 to $250,000.
  • The legislation aims to protect donor privacy and prevent foreign influence in US politics.
  • The bill is backed by Philanthropy Roundtable, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, and Americans for Prosperity.
  • The Act updates current law to ensure suitable penalties for criminals who leak donor info.