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Tancredo: New IRS Regs an ‘Assault’ on Free Speech

Tom Tancredo, former congressman turned wingnut columnist and professional anti-immigration agitator, responds to new propose IRS guidelines on what can and can’t be done by 501(c)(4) groups with all the nuance and intellectual integrity one would expect. Which is to say he screams “OMG, Obama is destroying freedom of speech” at the top of his lungs while hyperventilating.

The Obama administration announced last Tuesday that the IRS is publishing new rules restricting the activities of nonprofit groups organized under section 501(c)4 of the IRS code, groups commonly called “c-4s.”

If anyone thought the IRS scandal of last summer would cause the Obama administration to pull back its assault on constitutionally protected free speech, well, guess again. The attacks will continue. The reason is very simple: The leftists now running our federal government are afraid of citizens trying to educate their fellow Americans, and those educational efforts will be discouraged and, if need be, suppressed.

Or…they’re trying to prevent exactly that problem by giving IRS regulators clear guidelines to use when evaluating whether to grant an organization a tax exemption under that designation of the IRS code.

The new assault is aimed at “social welfare organizations,” tax-exempt groups that are allowed to engage in pubic educational activities that stop short of endorsing or promoting candidates for public office.

But they don’t do that. And everyone knows that. They make campaign commercials that say “Senator So-and-So likes to drown cute kittens in a bathtub and kick kindly grandmothers down the stairs. Call Senator So-and-So and tell him that you don’t like him drowning kittens and killing granny.” This is done solely to urge people not to vote for them and to vote for their opponent instead. It is a blatant attempt to influence the outcome of the election. And they have every right to influence others to vote as they would like, but not if they’re going to be tax-exempt under a section of the IRS code that requires that they can’t be primarily political.

This has nothing to do with free speech, it has only to do with what kinds of messages taxpayers have to subsidize through a tax exemption. The companies that fund those organizations are still free to say whatever they want to say, but they shouldn’t get a tax exemption to do it if they don’t qualify under the law for such an exemption. And it’s about damn time something was done to stop this ridiculous fiction that these are actual “social welfare” organizations.

Comments

  1. Abby Normal says

    Waaa, Obama is closing the loophole I use to grift taxpayers into funding my political ad company. I have a right to get paid by government for expressing my opinion. Don’t tread on me!

  2. John Pieret says

    But … but … they are restricting the rights of billionaires to pour money into campaigns anonymously to secretly buy politicians in the good ol’ free enterprise way!

  3. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    [C-4s] make campaign commercials that say “Senator So-and-So likes to drown cute kittens in a bathtub and kick kindly grandmothers down the stairs. Call Senator So-and-So and tell him that you don’t like him drowning kittens and killing granny.”

    Even worse is how c-4s provide funds to incumbents to extoll their virtues in order for those incumbents to use their office to harm the national interest. Here’s an example of the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity fighting to keep my district’s Rep. in office, MI-1′s Dan Benishek: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXexpo_QMeY.

  4. says

    Well, Ed Brayton, do you not care that “Senator So-and-So likes to drown cute kittens in a bathtub and kick kindly grandmothers down the stairs”?
    Why are you so quick to close the so-called “loopholes” that allow good, moral organizations like The Big Pile of Dark Money PAC to spread this critical information to voters? Is it because you, like Senator So-and-So, like to drown cute kittens in a bathtub and kick kindly grandmothers down the stairs? The answer, clearly, is “Yes”.

    And America has its answer:
    Ed Brayton, bad for America.

    (This message provided by Ed Brayton’s Opponent for Congress PAC)

  5. John Hinkle says

    The leftists now running our federal government are afraid of citizens trying to educate their fellow Americans, and those educational efforts will be discouraged and, if need be, suppressed.

    Where the following variables are defined as:

    leftists = <exception: divide by zero>
    afraid = rightfully concerned
    citizens = conservative wingnuts
    educate = propagandize
    educational = propaganda

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