Saturday, May 14, 2016

Petition Seeks to Stop Bill to Limit Donor Identity Disclosures to IRS

May 13, 2016


From Daily Tax Report

By Aaron E. Lorenzo

May 12 — Campaign finance concerns should outweigh disclosure worries, according to a petition seeking to block a bill to hide most identifying information on donors to tax-exempt, nonprofit groups.

The legislation (H.R. 5053), which would stop the Internal Revenue Service from collecting such material on those who give donations worth $5,000 or more, was advanced by the House Way and Means Committee on April 28.

The bill shouldn't go any farther, said the petition, which was organized by an online advocacy group called Care2.

“The Koch Brothers and other corrupt organizations are backing this bill strongly because it would allow them to become the middle man for dirty campaign money without anyone knowing,” the petition's author, Kelsey Bourgeois, wrote on Care2's website.

The legislation would hide contributions from drug lords, foreign governments and terrorists, she said.

Court Support

Supporters of the bill outside of Congress include the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, whose Americans for Prosperity Foundation recently won a U.S. District Court decision that ruled that the state of California couldn't force the IRS to disclose the conservative advocacy group's backers.

The IRS currently collects donor identities from groups organized under tax code Section 501(c) on Schedule B of Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax), Form 990-EZ (Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax) or Form 990-PF (Return of Private Foundation). The Schedule B information isn't supposed to get distributed publicly, unlike other Form 990 material.

But supporters of the bill, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), have argued that the IRS has wrongly used the confidential identity information. Schedule B reporting would remain in effect under Roskam’s bill only for limited donors, including those who give $5,000 or more in a year and serve as an officer or director of the organization or work as one of its five highest-paid employees.

Transparency Concerns

Nevertheless, opponents don't think that goes far enough.

“While foreign money cannot be legally given or spent in our elections, the only real protection we currently have against the use of 501(c)(4) groups to launder foreign money into federal elections is that 501(c)(4) groups must disclose their donors, including foreign donors, to the IRS,” eight campaign transparency advocacy groups said in a letter to Ways and Means members ahead of their markup.

The committee advanced H.R. 5053 on a 23-15, party-line vote (83 DTR G-6, 4/29/16).

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Wind power moving forward in Wisconsin

Wisconsin wind power projects moving forward
    • Posted: Mar 13, 2016 10:29 AM CDT

Milwaukee (AP) -

Wind power may be about to pick up in Wisconsin.

No major wind farms have been built in the state in the past five years. But that may be about to change.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports nearly 50 wind turbines could be built in southwestern Wisconsin over the next year. A global renewable energy company based in Spain hopes to build the Lafayette County wind farm in 2017. The project is valued at about $200 million.

And state regulators are taking another look at a proposed $250 million wind farm in western Wisconsin.   

Emerging Energies of Wisconsin wants to build 44 large wind turbines in St. Croix County. Residents have opposed the project, but the state Public Service commission decided Friday to reopen the case.

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Wind farm proposed for Lafayette County

Monday, March 14, 2016 9:05 a.m. CDT

UNDATED (WSAU-Wisconsin Radio Network)   After a five year pause, a new wind farm is proposed for southwestern Wisconsin.

EDP Renewables, global energy company based in Spain, wants to build a wind farm in Lafayette County next year. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that EDP would erect nearly 50 wind turbines east of Platteville in a project valued at around $200-million. The turbines would generate an estimated 99 megawatts of electricity.

The last major wind farm built in Wisconsin was in Columbia County in 2011.

As the Public Service Commission considers the Lafayette County project, the regulators will also take a second look at a proposed wind farm for St. Croix County.

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New wind farm coming to Lafayette County brings boost to WI wind energy industry

By Gordon Severson

Updated: Mar 28, 2016 10:59 PM CDT

LAFAYETTE COUNTY (WKOW)-- A project 14-years in the making is finally moving forward in rural Lafayette County. County officials tell 27 News the idea to build a wind farm in the Town of Seymour was first introduced in 2002, but never came to fruition until now.
The town is between Platteville and Darlington and has a population of only a few hundred people. County officials say a wind study in 2002 revealed the township produces the best wind in the entire area. It's why Spanish energy company EDP Renewables has decided to build 49 wind turbines at this site.
"There are about 20 farmers who have signed contracts with the company," Lafayette County Board Supervisor Leon Wolfe says.
Wolfe is also the chairman of the Lafayette County Land Conservation Committee. He first started working on this project back in 2006 when he joined the office. He and others in the county thought the project would never happen.
"It seemed like for a while it was just a pipe dream that wasn't going to happen," Wolfe says. "Now it looks like it's going to move forward."
Wolfe says a representative from EDP Renewables met with county officials in February to tell them the project is moving forward. The company has found a buyer who is willing to take all the energy that is produced by these turbines.
Wolfe tells 27 News the deal isn't officially done, because the company still has to finalize their contract with the buyer, but he believes it's merely a formality because the company has already started putting money towards developing the sites for these new turbines.
"The company wouldn't be putting money towards a project that isn't going to happen," Wolfe explains.
County officials say the project was put on hold all these years, because the company had a tough time finding a buyer. State Representative Melissa Sargent serves on the Wisconsin Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee. She says the market for wind energy has improved in recent years and that may be why the company is finally moving forward with the project. She
"A big question for folks is the profitability," Sargent explains. "There's more and more people that want to have green energy in their portfolios."
A new state mandate may also be driving this project. Last year a new requirement went into effect that requires at least 10% of a Wisconsin utility company's energy must come from a renewable source.
Sargent says most of these companies are forced to buy this energy from outside sources, because the Wisconsin wind energy industry can't produce enough to keep up.
"I think this is exciting that we're going to be having a larger portfolio rather than buying wind energy from other states," Sargent says.
The project in Lafayette County will likely start in early 2017 and will wrap up later that same year, according to county officials. The Town of Seymour will receive $150,000 a year and the county will receive an additional $200,000 a year for the first 20 years. Wolfe says that contract can be renewed after the first 20 years are up.
He says the money is meant to offset the extra wear and tear county roads will endure when the company comes in and builds these 49 turbines. That money will also go towards county services for the sites as well.
Wolfe tells 27 News he doesn't know how much money the farmers are being compensated, but says he hasn't received any complaints from farmers regarding their contracts with the company.
We've reached out to EDP Renewables to learn more about the Quilt Block Wind Farm Project, but we haven't heard back from them at this time. Sargent is hoping this project will inspire other companies to consider building more wind turbines in Wisconsin.
"I don't think it has been talked about enough. Certainly I believe wind and solar in Wisconsin is underutilized. We absolutely can be doing it better," Sargent says.

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Rock County Board opposes current railroad plan

JANESVILLE — The Rock County Board of Supervisors formally opposed a proposed railroad project, which is proposed to pass through the eastern portion of the county.

The supervisors voted unanimously for resolution to oppose the plan at its meeting Thursday. Supervisors Wayne Gustine and Jason Heidenreich were absent.

According to the resolution, the Great Lakes Basin Railroad project would remove an estimated 570 acres of prime farmland from production, which would represent an annual economic loss to agriculture and agricultural services of $608,615. The resolution also recognized that several townships the rail line would pass through have also registered their opposition, including Milton, Johnstown, Bradford and Clinton.

Supporters of the 280-mile rail project have said that it will be an economic boon because it will enable freight to pass around Chicago, which is a point of congestion for trains.

The project would cost an estimated $8 billion, but it would be privately funded and privately owned.

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Koch group launches ad campaign against NC GOP lawmaker


By Harper Neidig


A conservative group backed by Charles and David Koch is launching an advertising campaign aimed at defeating Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in her district’s Republican primary.

This will be the first time that Americans for Prosperity has taken on a Republican lawmaker.

“Renee Ellmers ran on a conservative, limited-government platform, but went to Washington and quickly became part of the problem,” Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips said in a statement.


"Rep. Ellmers has had every chance to match her votes to her prior conservative rhetoric, but instead ignores the voices and concerns of voters who have been let down. North Carolinians deserve a representative in Washington who will fight for them, not vote for corporate welfare and wasteful spending."

In the statement, the group criticized Ellmers over her support for the 2013 Murray-Ryan budget deal, the Export-Import Bank reauthorization and the 2014 farm bill.

The group’s first ad, which was released on Thursday, attacks Ellmers for those positions and praises her opponent, Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.). Holding currently represents another North Carolina district but decided to challenge Ellmers after a court-ordered redistricting in the state.

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Grundy County Board Passes Resolution Opposing Great Lakes Basin Rail Project

  • Justin Ritz WCSJ News
  • Updated May 13, 2016


A resolution opposing the Great Lakes Basin Rail project was approved by the Grundy County Board Tuesday night.

Board Chairman David Welter said the resolution, along with others from a variety of counties including LaSalle County, will hopefully influence the federal government’s decision-making process on the project.

County Administrator Doug Pryor answered a number of questions from board members, including the question of how eminent domain will be used by the feds.

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Pryor was also asked about the timeline for the project.

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Pryor said that the resolution opposes the current proposed path and that the path could change if and when the transportation Board approves the project.

If approved, he $8 billion rail project would run from Wisconsin across Illinois and would pass through LaSalle and Grundy counties to northwest Indiana.

Supporters of the Great Basin Railroad say the new line would expedite train movement throughout the Chicago area and make populated areas served by the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad safer..

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Obituary: Craig A. Schultz

Craig A. Schultz 1957—2016
Craig A. Schultz, 58, of Belvidere, passed away suddenly, Thursday morning, May 12, 2016. Craig was born July 22, 1957 in Abington, PA, son of James and Margaret (LeClere) Schultz. He graduated from Belvidere High School in 1975, and went on to Westminster College in Fulton, MO, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in accounting. Craig was employed as a finance officer for many years, and most recently worked as the former assistant manager at Pacemaker Foods. He enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Craig was a member of the Boone County Board representing District 3; he was a former Belvidere City Alderman and belonged to the Belvidere Democratic Party. Craig is loved and will be missed by his mother, Margaret (John Larson) Schultz; children, Amber Schultz and Nicholas Schultz; grandson, David Schultz; siblings, John (Debbie Farel-Stumpf), Annette (Chuck) Byers, and Margaret (David Hyser) Bailey; 9 nieces and nephews, and 3 great-nieces. He is preceded in death by his father, James.
Funeral Service will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere, IL 61008 with Rev. Allan Buss officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at the funeral home. Burial in Shattuck Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family. To light a candle or share a condolence, please visit

Published in Rockford Register Star on May 14, 2016 - See more at: