After massive targeting of pro-life and conservatives groups by the IRS during the Obama administration, members of Congress are pushing the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, a bill to prevent the Obama administration from implementing new rules that define what constitutes political activities for “social welfare” groups organized under the 501(c)(4) section of the tax code.
The bill was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee about two weeks ago, and a similar version has been introduced by Republicans in the Senate.
The measure has the support of the National Right to Life Committee, which wrote members of Congress saying the legislation is needed to protect pro-life groups. NRLC provided a copy of the letter to LifeNews:
Dear Member of Congress:
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), representing state right-to-life organizations nationwide, urges you to vote for passage of the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, H.R. 3865, when the House of Representatives takes up this legislation on February 26. NRLC reserves the right to include the roll call on passage of H.R. 3865 in our scorecard of key roll calls of the 113th Congress.
H.R. 3865 would prevent the IRS from putting into effect the regulatory changes proposed by the agency on November 29, 2013 (NPRM REG-134417-13, 78 Fed. Reg. 71535). The proposed changes would radically rewrite the longstanding regulations that govern permissible lobbying and advocacy by nonprofit organizations organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, which includes the National Right to Life Committee and most of the 50 state affiliates of NRLC.
The net effect of the proposed changes would severely narrow the range of permissible advocacy activities by NRLC and our affiliates. A major goal of the proposed changes is to violate the privacy of our donors and supporters, in order to expose them to intimidation and political retribution. There is nothing in the Internal Revenue Code as enacted by Congress that justifies the proposed changes. Moreover, the proposals blatantly disregard the constitutional principles enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of rulings, that strongly affirm that the First Amendment does not permit burdensome infringements on independent advocacy regarding the actions and positions of those who hold or seek federal office.
While justified by some special interests as a safeguard against political corruption, in reality it is an invitation to systemic political corruption to expand the IRS’s role as regulator of political speech. The IRS proposal reflects an acceleration of efforts, undertaken since the commencement of the Obama Administration, to harness the IRS to impede advocacy that the Administration deems adverse to its political agenda – a role in which the agency has already become enmeshed to a degree not seen since the Nixon Administration. We urge you to support H.R. 3865 and other efforts to turn the IRS away from this political role, and restore and safeguard its traditional role as an independent revenue-collection agency.