Silencing the Opposition – How the Obama IRS Plans on Limiting Conservative Free Speech–
The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:
- At least 292 conservative groups
- At least 5 pro-Israel groups
- Constitutional groups
- Groups that criticized Obama administration
- At least two pro-life groups
- An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor
- A 180 year-old Baptist paper
- A Texas voting-rights group
- A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed
- Conservative activists and businesses
- At least one conservative Hispanic group
- IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed
The Obama IRS gave preferential treatment to liberal groups during the same period.
And, now the Obama IRS is hoping to institutionalize their discrimination against conservative groups.
In December 2013, the IRS (not so) quietly proposed new regulations governing non-profits, specifically, 501(c)(4) organizations. IRS Reg-134417-13 will forbid conservative groups from holding voter registration drives, advertising, promoting, and prohibits any kind of political activity including rallies, mailings, teas, and forums.
In short, the Obama Administration wants to, as National Review explains, “effectively prevent many so-called 501(c)(4) organizations from engaging in political activity.”
The newly proposed rules would change the status not of the donors’ income taxes but those of the organization. If a political group is eligible to use section 501(c)(4), then under current rules, it is tax-exempt. If you take away that tax exemption, as the new rules threaten to do, it will have to pay taxes on its income, which includes the donations it receives.
Why would the Obama Administration do this? The National Review piece continues:
It has been argued that the proposed rules are justified as a way to force political groups to organize under a different tax-exemption provision, section 527, which requires them to disclose their donors.
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal today says it best:
“The current rules governing 501(c)(4)s have existed, unchanged, since 1959. Prior to 2010 the IRS processed and approved tax-exempt applications in fewer than three months with no apparent befuddlement.”
To be clear, Congressional Republicans understand why they are doing this, and are trying to stop it. House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has introduced H.R. 3865, the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014,” which would prohibit Treasury and the IRS from finalizing the proposed rules for one year in order to allow for the completion of the IRS targeting investigation and a thorough public discussion, including a review of public comments related to the proposed regulations.