Get PJ Media on your Apple

Tea Party Warns of ‘Permanent Damage’ from Proposed IRS Rules

Regulations would prohibit 501(c)(4)s from involving themselves in get-out-the-vote drives or printing voters’ guides.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

February 28, 2014 - 12:00 am
Page 1 of 3  Next ->   View as Single Page

WASHINGTON – A co-founder of the nation’s largest Tea Party organization told a House panel Thursday that proposed regulations limiting the political activity groups can engage in and still meet tax-exempt status will inflict “permanent damage” on the advocacy efforts of grassroots organizations.

Jenny Beth Martin, president of the Tea Party Patriots, told the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs that the rules proffered by the Internal Revenue Service to limit political activity will “silence” organizations and lead to an “infringement on the rights of the American people to freely associate, speak their minds and petition their government.”

“We have produced voters’ guides, hosted candidates’ debates, encouraged voter registration, supported get-out-the-vote efforts and assisted local groups in lobbying on specific local and national legislation,” Martin said. “We have invited members of Congress to speak at our rallies and events not as candidates but as experts on important topics. We have posted news about national events on our social media sites.”

“The current rules recognize all these activities as non-political,” she said. “The proposed rules would classify them all as political.”

Should the regulations ultimately meet with approval from the Obama administration, grassroots organizations will have to, among other things, disclose the identity of their donors, a requirement that could inhibit fundraising. Outfits largely funded by unidentified contributors have emerged as a significant political power in the last few years. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that such donations have gone from $87.2 million in 2008 to $256.3 million in 2012.

The new IRS initiative, announced in November, has left organizations on both sides of the political divide distressed. The agency is looking to update and clarify rules regarding the type of political activities various “social welfare” groups operating under section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code can engage in while maintaining their status. The agency decided to review the section dealing with tax-exempt organizations in wake of an ongoing controversy involving political groups, most of which lean conservative, that have had their tax-exempt applications delayed, rejected or subjected to probing questions.

Under current law, groups seeking status under 501(c)(4) can only operate “exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” But they are permitted to engage in additional activities as long as their “primary” emphasis remains on social welfare.

The proposed regulations would prohibit social welfare groups from involving themselves in get-out-the-vote drives or printing voters’ guides. They would be prohibited from contributing money or other items of value to a candidate or a political party and they face a limited time period when they can directly cite a candidate in a campaign ad or on a website.

Thursday marked the final day of a three-month public comment period on the proposed rule changes. More than 100,000 individuals and groups, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to Martin’s Tea Party Patriots, have weighed in, with many expressing strong objections.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
You are a fool if you expect the IRS not to adopt these new and onerous rules. The fox is in charge of the hen-house and they ain't giving up control without a fight.

If we want out country back a fight is what it'll take.

24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everyone needs to understand. These rules and limitations will only apply to Conservative groups.

Liberal activist groups will be overlooked and will get a pass. Because that's how the Left that's in control of the IRS rolls.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can we call Obama a fascist yet? His fascist list is getting rather long, so what more does he have to do, start speaking Austrian?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Don't follow the new rules!! The process for punishment will extend beyond 2016. After the mid-terms. break them again. Boehner and McConnell should publicly state the rules are unconstitutional and invalid.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
The joke that was dropped on us by the Supreme Court is getting unfunny. What is needed is public financing only. The only reason any of you idiots think this is great is you believe you're gaining something from it. You're just too damn dumb and ideological to figure out this kind of crap will bite you back. There is nothing that will save you when the money turns around.

My number one thing is folks that are so chicken-s%^t as to throw down large sums of money to back a candidate but doesn't want folks to know. You have to give it Sheldon Adlestein. He was willing to put his name on it. I can't find a use for money in politics.

And as for the folks that think clarifying the rules which I said should have been done by the IRS after the United ruling. Reading the qualifying definitions made it clear that they lacked clarity. Whining about it doesn't help.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
So basically you are against the entire first amendment.

Here, let me give an example. The New York Times is a private corporation. By your reasoning, their editorial board should not be allowed to endorse a candidate.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
The larger point is missed here. This is only a problem because of the rise of big government, the high tax rates needed to support it and the labyrinth of deductions created for various purposes of social engineering or behavior modification.

If we had a flat tax rate of say 12%, this problem would go away and people could fund causes and charities without the "gift" of tax relief from government.

So government caused this controversy and now that we have a controlling party that actively seeks to increase its control over our lives, they find it unacceptable that the tax preference is used by citizens to fight the growth in their power and control.

Their strategy now is to reset the base condition, i.e. no one in the political arena gets the preference. Then they can cheat and lie to gain it back for their side (as in claiming that Acorn is not politically aligned at all). So we are back to the really basic problem - for liberals the ends justifies the means whereas libertarians and conservatives are inclined to play by the rules that we all agree upon.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are a fool if you expect the IRS not to adopt these new and onerous rules. The fox is in charge of the hen-house and they ain't giving up control without a fight.

If we want out country back a fight is what it'll take.

24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everyone needs to understand. These rules and limitations will only apply to Conservative groups.

Liberal activist groups will be overlooked and will get a pass. Because that's how the Left that's in control of the IRS rolls.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
The left is playing this like they will never again be on the outside looking in. As gutless as the GOP is they'll probably 'conserve' these new rules if they regain the WH. It is what they do best.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, they shouldn't. They need to use all the same rules the Dims set, and ram them right down their throats. And when they whine about it, go right out to the podium and mics and tell everyone that they're only going by the same rules the Dims used against the Republicans.

I'm no longer interested in "being the nice guy". It's time we started treating the Dims the same way they treat us.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Make book on it. We already see it with churches. A conservative church puts out a voter guide and they run the risk of getting their tax exempt status yanked, yet Democrats can and do routinely speak from the pulpit during their campaigns.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
This rule of law by regulations created in secret by nameless, faceless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats must be not just curbed but eliminated in its entirety. If Congress or whatever legislative body can't figure out how to word a law completely, they shouldn't be allowed to pass the buck to the IRS, EPA, HHS or other executing agency filled with an army of would be tyrants who'll be more than happy to fill in the blanks. Further, I would argue that there is a limit to the number of laws that are imposed on Americans. How about a law that says that you must eliminate two laws or regulations for every new law or regulation passed. Each year our politicians think they serve to make more and more laws that further restrict our freedoms as opposed to being elected to safeguard our liberty and freedom from the tyranny of the state. Yet, every politician, regardless of party, crows about what legislation he sponsored or what new regulatory bureaucracy he supports vice what he's done to protect our liberty or freedom. Next time you communicate with a politician, ask him or her that! Better yet, vote and put all your resources and energy to demand that.

24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can we call Obama a fascist yet? His fascist list is getting rather long, so what more does he have to do, start speaking Austrian?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
G'day Mate.

I was tying my kangaroo down, sport and putting another shrimp on the barbi when I noticed that you were worried about speaking Australian. Don't worry mate, there's no such language as Australian. It's all fair dinkum.

Oh, Austrian? There's no such language as that either.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All