Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Senate Committee Considers Tax Court Nominees, Highlights of Midterm Primary Results

Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 2:00 pm

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

Congress IconNews from the Hill

Senate Finance Committee Hearing Set to Consider Tax Court Nominees

On Tuesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced a hearing to consider the nominations of a handful of individuals for appointment positions—namely, Elizabeth Ann Copeland and Patrick J. Urda to become judges of the U.S. Tax Court. Both individuals were nominated in August 2017 by President Donald Trump.

One name that is conspicuously absent from this nominations hearing is that of Chuck Rettig—President Trump’s nominee for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner, whom he nominated back in February. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Tuesday that he is canceling all but one week of the typical month-long recess that members take during August to try and work through some of the backlog of presidential nominees who have yet to be confirmed.

The Senate Finance Committee hearing is set to take place on Tuesday, June 12, at 10:00 a.m. ET.  

Sen. Johnson Calls on IRS to Eliminate Schedule B

On Monday, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ron Johnson (R-WI) called on the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to eliminate Schedule B of the IRS Form 990. In his letter, Sen. Johnson explains how he believes that “Compelled disclosure of donor information may threaten freedoms of speech and association.

Under current law, 501(c)(3) organizations are required to disclose information about donors who contribute $5,000 or more in the filing year. Schedule B of the Form 990 is the section where charities must disclose this information. Though organizations are required to disclose this information to the IRS, the agency is not supposed to publish Schedule B when making 990 data publicly available.

The Council generally supports measures that would ease administrative burdens of our members, however, we have some concerns about the implications of what the complete elimination of Schedule B could have on our sector. As the primary source of information that is necessary to verify the public support test, we are concerned that elimination of this reporting requirement altogether could open the door to abuse of public-support status by bad actors and leave the IRS with little enforcement ability.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory News

Start Now Helping Your Community Prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced the official start to the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. The early arrival of the first sub-tropical storm that brought destructive rains to the Gulf Coast region last week is a reminder that disaster can strike any time. Given the role many nonprofits play in disaster recovery, foundations might want to encourage their grantees to download the FEMA mobile app that has customizable checklists, shelter and recovery center maps, survival tips, and weather alerts. 

Also, check out the seasonal outlook for 2018. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center indicates 10-16 named storms are possible, with potentially up to four becoming major hurricanes.

If you would like an introduction to FEMA’s Philanthropic Engagement staff, email Stephanie Powers, vice president of policy and partnerships, at stephanie.powers@cof.org.

News IconElection Roundup

In the weeks ahead, we will include updates from the midterm election trail. This is intended to provide nonpartisan, matter-of-fact election news about the primary races that will play a key role in the outcome of the November elections.

Election Tracker


Primaries in CA, IA, and MT Highlight Busy Primary Day Across the Country

On Tuesday, eight states—Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota—held primaries for the upcoming midterm elections in November. Many eyes were on California, as Democrats were increasingly worried they might get “locked out” of some competitive House districts they are hoping to flip in November as part of their strategy to take back the House—and would be necessary to win if Democrats want to have any chance at winning back the majority. This concern was largely due to the state’s “jungle” primary system, which allows the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election in November. According to POLITICO, “The [Democratic] party has scrambled to avoid being shut out of the general election in three Southern California districts where large numbers of Democratic candidates split the party's votes. Under the state’s ‘jungle’ primary system, that would have allowed two Republicans to advance to the November general election for seats Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.”

In two battleground House races in Iowa, “Abby Finkenauer, who’s running to take on GOP Rep. Rod Blum in eastern Iowa, could be the first woman in her 20s elected to Congress after winning a Democratic primary in Eastern Iowa on Tuesday. In Des Moines and the surrounding area, Democrat Cindy Axne won the nomination to take on GOP Rep. David Young in a battleground district this fall.”

And in Montana, “State Auditor Matt Rosendale won a narrow victory against former state legislator and judge Russ Fagg and two other candidates. Rosendale’s bid was bolstered by the conservative Club for Growth, which has spent big to support him in the primary and expects to continue that in the general election.” Mr. Rosendale will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is one of the 10 senators in a state that President Donald Trump won in the 2016 election that Republicans are targeting this fall.

For the rest of Tuesday’s primary results, see this New York Times article.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

Our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits are hosting their 2018 Network Learning Confab this week, but will return next week to report the latest on what’s happening in the states!

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