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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 290

IRS Logo 2Heritage Foundation:  Taxing the First Amendment: Using the IRS to Censor Speech? (Feb. 21):

The Internal Revenue Service is being investigated over claims that it denied tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code to Tea Party and other conservative organizations because of their political views and beliefs. Lawsuits are pending over the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive donor and tax information by the IRS. On Nov. 29, 2013, the IRS issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would broadly widen the definition of “candidate-related political activity” for 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations, restricting the ability of groups like the NRA and the Sierra Club to engage in political advocacy. Does this proposed regulation violate the First Amendment rights of nonprofits and their members? What is the status of the litigation and the investigations being conducted by Congress and the Justice Department? Are the IRS scandal and the current regulatory proposal a coordinated effort to stifle criticism of the government? Two campaign finance experts, including a lawyer representing conservative organizations and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, along with two journalists who have extensively covered the IRS scandal, will discuss these issues.

  • Cleta Mitchell (Partner, Foley & Lardner)
  • Bradley A. Smith (Chairman, Center for Competitive Politics)
  • Eliana Johnson (Reporter, National Review)
  • Kimberley Strassel (Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal)

Christian Post:  IRS Scandal Has Obama Fingerprints All Over It, Experts Say:

Experts agreed that the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative, pro-life, and evangelical groups in 2012 ties directly back to President Obama's campaign style before his presidency. "The best way to look at this is as a continuum of a very long and determined political strategy that dates back to 2008 and a man named Barack Obama," Kimberley Strassel, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, declared at The Heritage Foundation on Friday. Strassel argued that "this is a president and his team of political operatives who have always understood the power of speech, but more importantly, the power of denying it to their political opponents." ... Strassel quoted the House Ways and Means Committee's report about the new IRS rules, saying the committee "has noted it looks very much to them as though this rule was reverse engineered" to attack the same groups the IRS targeted in 2012. "Somebody took a look at all of the organizations that had been targeted prior by the IRS and then drafted these rules to make sure that they could encompass those groups again, but in a formalized fashion."

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