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Fall 2012
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FEATURE STORY

Moritz Professors Head to Capitol Hill

Three Moritz professors recently testified before Congress a total of four times. Donald Tobin, the Frank E. and Virginia H. Bazler Designated Professor in Business Law, testified before a U.S. Senate Ways and Means subcommittee on the increased complexity of public charities.

Tobin told the Subcommittee on Oversight that public charities have sought “more sophisticated ways to participate in the public sphere” and “creative ways to increase their impact and their revenues” as they expand activities in the United States and abroad.

“To accomplish these tasks, public charities have turned to increasingly complex organizational structures including for-profit subsidiaries, joint ventures with for-profit entities, and affiliated organizations,” Tobin testified. “… These arrangements not only increase complexity for the entities involved, but they also increase complexity in the tax code, as further regulations and provisions are necessary to ensure that tax subsidies available to public charities are not used to subsidize lobbying and political campaign activity.”

Peter Swire, the C. William O’Neill Professor of Law, testified before a subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing titled “State of Federal Privacy and Data Security Law: Lagging Behind the Times?”

The Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia was interested in Swire’s thoughts on a range of issues pertaining to federal agency privacy and data practices.

Swire also testified at a United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing titled “The Need for Privacy Protections: Is Industry Self-Regulation Adequate.”

Swire provided historical context about self-regulation and privacy to the Committee including points such as government regulation leading to self-regulation, online privacy attention progresses Do Not Track, and more attention should be given to technical and administrative measures for online privacy de-identification.

“I personally would not like to have an Internet where I believed that each moment of my browsing might easily be breached and shown to the entire world. For you and your families, it would reduce the quality of the Internet if you thought that any page you visited needed to be treated like something that might be released to the public,” Swire testified. “That is not the experience we have today. However, if we do not foster good practices, then we risk losing confidence in our use of the Internet.”

Professor Daniel P. Tokaji, the Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor and Senior Fellow at the nonpartisan Election Law @ Moritz project, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. Tokaji’s testimony focused on new state voting laws.

“For the most part, the recent round of state election laws have the effect and apparent intent of making it more difficult for eligible citizens to vote,” Tokaji wrote in his testimony.

Posted in: Fall 2012, Feature Story