IRS Wants to Control Political Activity of Non-Profits

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Six months after controversy bubbled to the surface over the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups, the Obama administration moved to control tax-exempt groups’ political activity again Tuesday as the Treasury Department released a set of proposed rules that would keep certain organizations from raising millions of dollars to influence elections.

According to Fox News, the organizations in question are those that fall in the same class of politically active non-profit groups that the IRS was accused of targeting last summer, and under the new rules, those with the tax-exempt 501c4 distinction would be more clearly identified during campaigns, keeping them from conducting a wide range of activities such as running ads and distributing campaign fliers. The proposed rules would have far-reaching effects, blocking certain activity that is currently permissible under certain guidelines; however, such regulation generally takes several years to be finalized, and the rules aren’t expected to affect next year’s elections. The rules require a 90-day deadline for public comments, followed by public hearings, additional review, and an implementation period.

Upon learning of the new proposals, parties have unsurprisingly responded differently, but Tea Party groups were among the most vocal with attorney Jay Sekulow saying in a written statement, highlighted by Fox News, “This is a feeble attempt by the Obama Administration to justify its own wrong-doing with the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups. Instead of holding those responsible for the unlawful targeting scheme accountable for their activities, the Obama Administration is determined to further limit the free speech of Americans by attempting to change constitutional practices that are decades old.”

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