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 2016, non-corporate donations comprised more than 85 percent of our total revenue.
- Although powerful and deep-pocketed corporations may offer (and have offered) large financial contributions on numerous issues, NTUF has rejected such attempts to enlist us in projects that do not serve taxpayers. And we always will.
- NTUF accepts the fact that businesses and other 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.
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.
- Our analyses are designed without regard to the political affiliation of those offering a given proposal. Such plans may be beneficial to taxpayers, e.g., plans to limit Pentagon spending offered by Democrats, or budget rescissions offered by Republicans. Other plans may be harmful to taxpayers, e.g., punitive income tax rate increases sought by Democrats, or tariffs (taxes) advocated by Republicans. Regardless of these proposals' origins, NTUF applies the same, methodical approach toward evaluating them. In many cases, NTUF stresses the bipartisan nature of both problems and solutions surrounding fiscal policy. For example, one of NTUF's first examinations of the Trump Administration's 2018 budget blueprint identified spending reductions contained in that document that were also proposed by the Obama Administration.
b. NTUF's Assessment Systems. NTUF's Taxpayers' Budget Office (TBO) and the Interstate Commerce Initiative (ICI). The assessment systems TBO utilizes to provide constructive feedback on the Congressional Budget Office's activities are designed to function in the same manner, regardless of which party controls the House and Senate. We continue to provide constructive feedback on budget scorekeeping agencies' analytical techniques for legislation sponsored by Democrats or Republicans. ICI continues to highlight states' abuse of tax and regulatory powers past their borders, which can come from Republican elected officials as well as Democratic elected officials.
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.