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InsiderOnline Blog: May 2014

The IRS’s Threat to Free Speech Has Been Delayed

The Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that it would scrap its proposed rules that sought to limit political activity by tax exempt non-profits. The agency said it would rewrite them next year. The IRS had received an unprecedented number of comments about the rules—150,000—and many of those comments were negative. Both liberal and conservative nonprofits had criticized the proposed rules for proposing to define candidate-related political activity so broadly as to chill a significant amount of discourse about public policy issues. [Politico, May 22]

Attorney Cleta Mitchell, who has done more than just about anyone to educate the public about the threat posed to free speech rights by the IRS’s rules, told Newsmax that she expects the fight to resume next year:

“I wish they would have said that ‘if we do decide that we need regulations, we’re going to have hearings first and hear what people have to say, and we’re not going to continue this process in secret behind closed doors,’” she said. “So that’s the part that worries me, is what are they going to do next?”

“Every agency, every federal agency is supposed to publish online and you’re supposed to be able to look and see what regulations they’re working on,” she explained. “Except, they didn’t do that. They didn’t add this rule making to their plans until two days before they issued it.”

The Washington attorney said that the reason the IRS must function in such secrecy is because “the things that they do and the things that they’re trying to do cannot withstand the scrutiny in the light of day.” [Newsmax, May 23]

Posted on 05/23/14 08:32 PM by Alex Adrianson

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