February 6, 2014


Will the IRS Take Away Your Ability to be an Informed Voter?


On Black Friday the IRS announced  a rule change and started a public comment period to allow Americans to express their views on the changes.  Not surprising, with Christmas shopping and other preparations  for the upcoming church and family activities, the proposed rule change went unnoticed for weeks as the public comment period clock continued to count down.   It was not until the middle of January that the public became aware of these proposed changes.

Here’s a little of what will be forbidden activities for 501(c)(4) organizations:

non-partisan voter registration drives
non-partisan voter guides
candidate forums/debates
voter scorecards
no mention of candidates in ads, on websites, in mailings 60 days prior to the general election

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said the rule is clearly aimed at putting “tea party groups out of business.”

“Treasury appears to have reverse-engineered the carefully tailored rule – combing through the list of previously targeted tea party groups, compiling a list of their main activities and then restricting those functions.”

Unions (501(c)(5)s and well-funded 527 groups will not be affected by the rule change.

If these rule changes take place 501(c)(4)s which currently do not have to reveal donors, will be forced to start a PAC which is required to make public their donors.

The AFA of PA is a 501(c)(3) organization, but as Patrick Vaughn, general counsel for the national office of the American Family Association, notes the new rule change would be written into the Section 501(c) code and he believes they would soon be extended to 501(c)(3) organizations too. Click here for Pat’s legal opinion.

Action Steps

1.)  Listen to my recent interview with Mat Stave as we discuss this effort to stop all attempts to educate the voters on issues.

2.)  Leave a public comment with the IRS urging them to reject regulations that would suppress the freedom of speech during election periods.   Follow this link to leave your comment.  Remember the deadline is 11:59 p.m. February 27th.

Points to consider as you submit your comment:

a.) include the fact you are commenting on:  proposed regulations found in REG-134417-13

b.) concerns: changes would restrict good citizenship by redefining all voter registration, non-partisan voter guides, legislative records, candidate debates or forums, get-out-the-vote reminders, even the mention of any issue that has been raised by a candidate as regulated political activity.

c.) The rule changes will stifle the ability of non-profit groups to inform citizens about the Administration’s judicial and political appointment by redefining those nominees as political candidates.  Citizens have the right to hear more than the Administration’s line regarding what philosophies, policies, agendas political appointees represent.

d.) The proposed rule gives the appearance that the IRS is trying to adopt regulations to achieve the same goals that motivated it to hold-up granting the applications of conservative organizations.

e.)  New IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen,  vowed during his confirmation hearings to restore public trust in the agency.  There are already easily understood rules in place for  tax exempt social welfare organizations that have worked very well for years.   Approval of this rule change will do the exact opposite of the stated goal of Commissioner Koskinen in restoring public trust.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email