NTUF Statement of Ethics

Members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTUF), and indeed all taxpayers, are entitled to know how NTUF operates. Like our grassroots lobbying affiliate (the National Taxpayers Union), NTUF adheres to a strong set of unwavering ethical and policy principles.

1. Independence. NTUF relies on gifts from individuals and foundations for the vast bulk of our financial support.

a. Strictly Limited Funding from Corporations. Because substantial reliance on corporate support can raise questions about independence, NTUF strictly limits the role of corporate dollars in our overall fundraising.

  • NTUF obtains the overwhelming majority of its support from non-corporate sources. In 2004, non-corporate donations comprised 97 percent of our funding. No advertising is accepted for any NTUF publication.
  • Although powerful and deep-pocketed corporations may offer (and have offered) large financial contributions on issues ranging from energy policy to Government-Sponsored Enterprise reform to entitlement spending, NTUF has rejected such attempts to enlist us in projects that do not serve taxpayers. And we always will.
  • NTUF accepts the fact that corporations and entities that have supported us in the past may subsequently disagree with our position on a future matter and may cease their support. This has happened on a great number of occasions and no doubt will again.

b. No Funding from Labor Unions. While a number of policy and advocacy groups on the political left in America obtain a substantial portion of their budgets from labor unions (including government employee unions with very specific public policy objectives), NTUF has not requested and does not receive funding from these organizations.

c. No Funding from Government. As a matter of principle, NTUF does not seek and would never accept any funding from government at any level (federal, state, or local).

2. Policy Integrity.

a. Policy Is Always First. NTUF makes decisions on whether and how to weigh in on a public policy question before seeking funding from any individual, foundation, or corporation. We never put the proverbial cart before the horse on policy.

b. No Employee Compensation from Outsiders Seeking Influence.No NTUF employee has ever received outside personal compensation from a lobbyist, corporation, or other entity seeking to sway NTUF's policy agenda.

3. Non-Partisanship.

a. Advocacy and Research for Taxpayers, Not Political Parties. NTUF works on behalf of taxpayers, not parties.

  • NTUF will fairly critique all efforts to limit or expand government, whether they are initiated by Democrats or Republicans.
  • We will lay out all the facts on initiatives that would bloat government, whether sponsored by Democrats (President Clinton's 1994 health care legislation and his 1994 crime bill, for instance) or Republicans (e.g., Congressional Republicans' 2003 Medicare prescription drug legislation, Congress's 2002 farm bill, and President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation).

b. NTUF's Assessment Systems. Many Senators and Representatives who do not like the results of NTUF's BillTally and VoteTally budgetary assessment systems (which produce for every Member of Congress a dollar total of their spending agenda and voting record respectively) try to turn the public's attention away from their records by claiming that our studies are somehow partisan or biased. They are neither.

  • Unlike many other groups, NTUF does not "cherry-pick" items for inclusion in our assessment studies. BillTally includes every House and Senate bill with at least a $1 million impact on the federal budget. VoteTally includes every single floor vote where at least $1 million is at stake. Then we cross-index the costs of these bills and votes with the actions of Members and report the results.
  • While Republicans generally have legislative agendas (BillTally) and spending records (VoteTally) that support slightly smaller government, our studies often show Democrats advocating or voting for less spending than Republicans. In the 107th Congress, for instance, a Democrat had the smallest legislative agenda of any Member of the U.S. Senate.

4. Respect for Privacy. NTUF has long been involved in the fight for taxpayer privacy. Unless specifically requested by the donor otherwise, gifts to NTUF are kept private and the names of specific individuals or organizations are not revealed to the public. Throughout the history of NTUF, we have considered ourselves duty-bound to honor the confidentiality of contributors, some of whom have expressed fears of official or political retaliation for supporting educational efforts regarding issues such as reforming the IRS and curtailing pork-barrel spending projects.

5. Financial Integrity. While we are not required to do so, NTUF undergoes an annual audit by an independent accredited public accounting firm to ensure we have not made any mistakes or violated legal or accounting ethics in conducting our work. Copies of these audited financial statements are available to the public upon request. By law, NTUF also annually files IRS Form 990, which is available on our website.

a. Meeting the "Public Support Test." The National Taxpayers Union Foundation annually examines its sources of funding to ensure that it meets the IRS's "Public Support Test" (and thus qualifies as a public charity). This is a test to ensure that an organization's financial wherewithal comes from a broad base of public support.