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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 285

IRS Logo 2Orange County Register editorial:  New IRS Threat to Political Expression:

The Internal Revenue Service wants to set tougher standards for how much political activity is too much political activity. If you’re like us, that sentence sends chills up your spine.

While the IRS has never been an institution that has commanded outsized admiration from Americans, the agency must be regarded with elevated suspicion in light of last year’s revelations that it was going out of its way to delay or prevent conservative groups from earning tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status under the tax code. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., revealed last week that the scandal went deeper than we previously knew, with the IRS also conducting surveillance on existing 501(c)(4)s, the targets overwhelmingly (83 percent) consisting of right-leaning groups.

t’s against this backdrop that the agency is currently proposing new rules limiting the political activity that may be engaged in by “social welfare” organizations, the term of art used to describe 501(c)4 groups. Those rules would classify activity such as voter registration drives, the preparation of voter guides and get-out-the-vote efforts as “candidate-related political activity,” even if it is nonpartisan and doesn’t advocate for the election of any specific individual. Organizations that engage in too much of that behavior (and the IRS has yet to define how much is too much) would be at risk of losing their nonprofit status ....

It’s true that the confluence of money and politics can prove dangerous, but the greater danger surely stems from empowering those who govern to restrict the manner in which those who are governed can express their political viewpoints. That’s the reason that liberal and conservative groups alike are opposed to the proposed IRS rules. A free people deserve the right to voice their political opinions without state interference – a task made immensely more difficult by the IRS’ new proposal. For that reason, the proposed rules deserve to be abandoned with haste.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/02/the-irs-scandal-15.html

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Comments

You probably have enough material to write a book on the scandal. I'd buy that book.

Posted by: Ed Minchau | Feb 18, 2014 9:56:26 AM

So the advertisement I get, courtesy of googleads, reads “Stop Scott Walker’s voter suppression in WI. Sign the petition.”

…following 284 days worth of documentation demonstrating corruption by the IRS in attempting to suppress Obama's political opponents.

Is the irony intended?

Posted by: anon | Feb 18, 2014 2:31:30 PM