Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 293

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial:  Liberals vs. the IRS: Even the Left Doesn't Want the Tax Man Regulating Speech:

The media have remained quiet about the IRS targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and even quieter about the proposed IRS rule to restrict their political speech. Maybe our colleagues will snap out of their slumber now that the objections are coming from liberals.

The comment period for the new IRS political-speech rule is open until Feb. 27, but already there have been more than 69,000 comments, the majority negative. That's far more than the normal reaction to a new regulation—only 7,353 comments on the Keystone XL pipeline, according to—and it shows how much anger and concern the rule has generated across the political spectrum. ...

By restricting the ability of 501(c)(4)s to engage in politics, the Administration hopes more groups will have to register as political committees instead of social-welfare groups and thus disclose their donors. The purpose of this disclosure is to set up donors as political targets for boycotts and intimidation so the costs of participating in politics will be too steep.New York Democrat Chuck Schumer recently gave this game away when he urged the IRS and Administration to "redouble" their efforts to crack down on the "tea party elites" who "gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government."

In other words, Mr. Schumer and the White House want to use the IRS to impose campaign-finance reform. But that's a role Congress has never envisioned for what is supposed to be the nonpartisan tax authority. Congress set up the Federal Election Commission, with three members each from both parties, to enforce campaign-finance regulations so there would be a check on partisan enforcement.

Conservative criticism hasn't stopped the Obama IRS, but maybe liberal unhappiness will. The Treasury Department said earlier this month that the draft rule is merely the "first step in a careful, thoughtful process." It's been thoughtful only in the sense that it is driven by political motives. If the liberals don't want some future Republican IRS to reduce their political speech, they'll continue the clamor until the White House kills this assault on the First Amendment.

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The scandal, based on the other listings here, is that there are evidently 15,000 or so plutocrats with active and large secret Swiss bank accounts who evidently have a de facto immunity from DOJ based on their class.

Posted by: jimharper | Feb 26, 2014 11:31:10 AM