In practical terms, the proposed new rules are outrageously arbitrary and appear to be designed to inflict massive damage on the ability of conservatives to get their message out:

Cleta Mitchell, a board member of the American Conservative Union Foundation, said Friday during that organization’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference that the new rules would affect the event where she was speaking.

‘It would mean that in even-numbered years, CPAC could have no speakers who are candidates for office,’ she said, dumbfounded.

The few tantalizing clues to how these rules came about — a result of some emails ferreted out by Issa’s oversight committee — show that the Tea Party was uppermost in the minds of IRS personnel when developing the new regulations. It is hoped that this vast treasure trove of new evidence will shed light on the decision-making processes of the IRS and answer questions about where exactly the push to silence conservatives came from.