Call it the political equivalent of the “Polar Vortex”.
As we enter Day 244 of the Internal Revenue Service scandal of suppressing conservative groups by the unfair application of tax-exempt status rules, there is a development that is chilling the hearts of citizen activists everywhere.
The IRS is planning to codify its tactics into truly heavy-handed regulations. Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works explains:
“While you were all celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, the Obama Administration was quietly releasing a new set of draconian IRS regulations that would make it virtually impossible for tea parties that want to participate in the political process to do their business. They’re going after conservative groups, they’re going after libertarian groups, and they’re going after citizen groups that want to organize people based on the values of the constitution; based on the ideas of freedom and have an impact on the political conversation.”
In a nutshell, the agency will be using one of the administration’s favorite tactics: Redefining terms. There would be favorable rulings for groups promoting “social welfare.”
Meanwhile, the definition of political activity would be broadened. A snippet of the proposed rule:
These proposed regulations provide guidance on which activities will be considered candidate-related political activity for purposes of the regulations under section 501(c)(4). These proposed regulations would replace the language in the existing final regulation under section 501(c)(4)—“participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office”—with a new term—“candidate-related political activity”—to differentiate the proposed section 501(c)(4) rule from the standard employed under section 501(c)(3) (and currently employed under section 501(c)(4)). The proposed rule is intended to help organizations and the IRS more readily identify activities that constitute candidate-related political activity and, therefore, do not promote social welfare within the meaning of section 501(c)(4). These proposed regulations do not otherwise define the promotion of social welfare under section 501(c)(4). The Treasury Department and the IRS note that the fact that an activity is not candidate-related political activity under these proposed regulations does not mean that the activity promotes social welfare. Whether such an activity promotes social welfare is an independent determination.
So, while groups like Organizing for America will be deemed “social welfare” organizations and exempt from taxation, entities like the NorCal Tea Party will be classified as having some sort of “candidate-related political activity”.
Hal Bray, the 2nd Vice Chair for the Contra Costa Republican Party, expands on the likely consequences.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the new rules will restrict the ability of 501(c)(4) groups to conduct nonpartisan voter registration and voter education; the organizations would also be forbidden to leave records of officeholder votes and public statements on their websites in the two months prior to an election. Ultimately, the goal of these new rules is the intimidation of conservative donors though the disclosure of private information.
However, we have a chance for a little “insurrection”. You can comment on the proposed rules by clicking HERE before Feb. 27th, the end-date for the comment period.
“I find it interesting that Feb. 27th was the date chosen, as it marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the national Tea Party movement,” noted Dawn Wildman, President of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition.
Wildman explains that though the Obama administration said they had stopped the unfair treatment of conservative groups, it is obvious from this regulation, “…it is obviously business as usual. I look forward to see what conservative stalwarts like Darrell Issa, Rand Paul, and other Republicans championed by grassroots groups will do to get the message out so we can stop this regulatory travesty.”
Wildman also indicates that the California Tea Party groups, as well as others across the nation, are beginning the drive to push-back against these rules. She urges conservatives to add their comments, as well as contacting their congressional representatives.DONATE
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