IRS agrees to pay non-profit group $50,000 for unauthorized release of tax return

June 24, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service has agreed to pay the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) $50,000 as part of a settlement of NOM’s suit against the IRS for the unauthorized release of NOM’s tax return.

NOM is a prominent opponent of same-sex marriage.  In 2012 the Human Rights Campaign, a group that supports same-sex marriage, posted a copy of NOM’s 2008 Form 990, including portions of the form that list donor information and are not subject to public disclosure.  HRC received the documents from an individual who apparently obtained them from a someone within the IRS, but who invoked the Fifth Amendment rather than disclose his source.

In 2013, NOM filed suit against the IRS. (Supporting documents here.)  Although the IRS initially claimed there no proof that it had been the source of the disclosure, it appears to have relented.  According to this post on NOM’s blog, the IRS has acknowledged being the source of the confidential documents as part of the settlement.  The individual who initially leaked the information has not been identified, however.  More here and here.

Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, where he is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation.
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