Feb 21, 2014
IRS Silencing the Tea Parties?
We’re sure you’re aware of how the Obama Administration’s IRS targeted conservative and tea party activist groups to keep them as silent as possible during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. What you may not know is that the IRS continues to actively target those same groups — this time via regulation and rulemaking. For...
What you may not know is that the IRS continues to actively target those same groups — this time via regulation and rulemaking.
For years the IRS has “blessed” citizen education and “social welfare groups” (like the Faulkner County TEA Party) with a 501(c)(4) tax exempt designation, but now the Administration says those rules on political activity “need to be clarified.”
On November 29, 2013 (the day after Thanksgiving) the IRS quietly proposed that candidate-related activities be disallowed under 501(c)(4) by changing its definition of “political speech.”
Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell, who gave that bombshell testimony in Congress a couple of weeks ago on IRS targeting of tea party groups, represents several of those groups. She says the proposed IRS rules would treat as candidate-related activity pretty much everything a 501(c)(4) normally does:
♦ Grassroots lobbying
♦ Candidate forums
♦ Candidate debates
♦ Voter registration
♦ Voting guides
♦ Issue advocacy
♦ Any public statements by group officers about incumbents and candidates
♦ Any event where any candidate appears within 30 days of a primary, or 60 days of a general election
The rules also treat meetings with public officials as taxable events — even if the appearance at the event was in an official capacity and not as a candidate.
Mitchell says this continued targeting forces our citizens to get their candidate information from 30-second TV ads and the media rather than from candidate debates, candidate forums and by seeing public officials face-to-face in town halls and other meetings.
(To date, the IRS has received over 23,000 comments on this issue — more than ever recorded in history.)