The Internal Revenue Service is still under intense fire from conservative groups who were unfairly targeted in a politically based ploy to silence Obama opposition. Tea Party-backed organizations seeking tax-exempt status were routinely forced to provide substantial information and answer personal questions before facing a protracted review period.
This disreputable tactic deeply damaged the conservative movement’s ability to spread their message during the pivotal election cycles of 2010 and 2012.
While IRS officials have admitted agents treated groups unfairly based on their political leanings, recent reports indicate the agency is back to its old tricks with a bevy of new rules.
Liberty Counsel Founder Mathew Staver is speaking out against the policy changes, alleging the “president wants his IRS to totally silence the voices of his political adversaries.”
Under the new rules, nonprofit groups designated as a 501-c-4 organization will be severely limited in the scope of their political outreach. Staver said the Liberty Counsel falls into that category. Not only are groups themselves hamstrung by the latest policy changes, he said “it also silences people who are associated” with them.
As Obama’s approval rating continues to plummet, the left is obviously developing ways to limit negative press as next year’s midterm elections approach. Few threats are able to immediately instill fear like retaliation from the IRS.
Staver, who calls the administration’s taxation arm the “most feared of all federal agencies,” said the promise of added scrutiny will serve as an effective deterrent.
“We would be restricted in promoting conservative values,” he explained, “such as protecting our constitutional rights against the executive branch’s infringements.”
In addition to curtailing voter registration drives and distributing voting guides, Staver noted groups such as his would be prohibited from actively opposing administration policies. The IRS achieves this goal by specifically banning a number of words, including “oppose,” “support,” and even “vote.”
“What’s more,” he continued, “the new set of regulations exempts prominent liberal lobbying groups like labor unions!”
The Liberty Counsel is now urging the IRS to abandon the new rules; however, it seems unlikely this administration would voluntarily repeal any policy that makes dissent more difficult. Far from being the transparent administration Obama promised, unjust rules and mandates such as these from the IRS are routinely enacted without any publicity whatsoever.
–B. Christopher Agee
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