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May 20, 2024

House Committee on Ways & Means Passes Schweikert Legislation Protecting Americans’ Privacy and Promoting Donor Integrity

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 8293, the American Donor Privacy and Foreign Funding Transparency Act, legislation authored by U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) that would require tax-exempt organizations to disclose aggregate data on donations from foreign sources. It also protects American taxpayers by preventing federal agencies from implementing new donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt entities. 

“There is no place for foreign adversaries in American politics,” said Rep. Schweikert. “Not only does the American Donor Privacy and Foreign Funding Transparency Act bring to light the workaround foreign donors use to influence our democracy, but it also enshrines American donors’ rights to privacy under the First Amendment.”

“The Lois Lerner IRS scandal was a dark reminder of what happens when a federal agency attempts to target Americans based on their political opinions,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08). “Rep. Schweikert’s bill, the American Donor Privacy and Foreign Funding Transparency Act, protects Americans from attempts by federal agencies to circumvent Congress and implement their own disclosure requirements. At the same time, this legislation also protects against attempts by foreign entities, in particular the Chinese Communist Party, to control and influence our public policy, discourse, and elections. Rep. Schweikert’s bill builds on the groundwork laid by the Ways and Means Committee to shine a light on foreign bad actors seeking to subvert our politics by requiring tax-exempt organizations to report the amount, frequency, and source of foreign donations. This will give the American people insight into whether the policy and political ads they see blanketing our airwaves are funded by foreign governments or actual American grassroots.” 

On top of protecting Americans’ privacy, this legislation seeks to address the large influx of funding from foreign entities seeking to impact American politics. Not only have America’s adversaries influenced elections through large sums of funding, but they are now finding more creative ways to infiltrate American innovation by allocating funds for university-led projects. According to Bloomberg, a U.S.-blacklisted Chinese telecommunications company has been secretly funding research conducted at various institutions in America.
Background on the American Donor Privacy and Foreign Funding Transparency Act:

  • This bill would require the annual disclosure of contributions received by tax-exempt organizations from foreign sources, bringing much-needed transparency to the tax-exempt sector and shining a light on foreign adversaries attempting to influence U.S. elections. The following information would be disclosed:
    • Whether the entity accepted any foreign donations;
    • Total amount of foreign donations accepted;
    • List of countries of donation origin; and
    • Total amount accepted from sources in each country.

This bill also maintains critical privacy protections for Americans who donate to nonprofits by preventing federal agencies from collecting or requiring the submission of information on the identification of any donor to a tax-exempt organization. 

The full text of the bill can be found here.

A previous letter authored by Rep. Schweikert regarding tax-exempt organizations under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code can be found here.

###Congressman David Schweikert serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is the current Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee. He is also the Vice Chairman on the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, chairs the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, and is the Republican Co-Chair of the Blockchain Caucus, Telehealth Caucus, Singapore Caucus, and the Caucus on Access to Capital and Credit.

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