Remember when Barack Obama said that no one was more outraged than he was about the IRS abuse of Tea Party and conservative groups? Well, try to avoid your shockface — he wasn’t really telling the truth.
Fox reports (h/t JWF) that what the IRS sought to accomplish from 2010 to 2012 to suppress Tea Party groups, the Obama administration is trying to make official policy. It’s pulling this move the day before Thanksgiving, when most Americans are already tuning out of politics.
The administration has proposed new rules that would sharply curtail the activities of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups.
Under the proposed new rules, organizations that fall under the tax-exempt 501(c)(4) umbrella would also be more clearly identified during campaigns. The new guidance would curtail activities such as running ads, distributing campaign literature and other get-out-the-vote initiatives.
The groups in question are able to raise millions of dollars to influence elections.
Smaller organizations that are similarly classified were the subject of unfair targeting practices earlier this year by IRS employees, leading to the eventual resignations of several senior IRS officials.
However, it could be several years before any regulations are finalized, meaning the groups could likely still raise millions before next year’s elections.
Or it could happen much more quickly. Just last week the Democrat-controlled Senate blew up the filibuster against controversial judicial appointments below the Supreme Court. Now this week, the administration is pushing a rule that is sure to get challenged in court if it gets on the books. The courts will soon be packed with 51-vote judge appointed by the same administration that is pushing these new rules.
This is all coming from an administration that constantly militates against simple voter ID, by the way.
Under current rules, social welfare organizations may conduct some political work as long as it is not their main activity. The proposed new rules would block such things as running ads that “expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party” as fulfilling their tax-exempt mission.
The rules also would limit voter drives and voter registration efforts and distribution of literature.
The idea behind the new regulations is to simplify the rules of the road going forward, supporters say.
Some of the outside groups that could be affected by the proposal, including Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the pro-Obama Priorities USA, did not offer any initial reaction to the announcement. The groups are expected to weigh in on the rulemaking as it proceeds.
Everyone knows how this will really work in practice. All the groups, left, right and otherwise, will be told that they have to live by the same rules. But Obama’s faceless bureaucracy will only enforce them on one side.
These rules need to be stopped in their tracks.