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The regulations would apply to social welfare groups applying for tax-exempt status under section 501(c) 4 of the tax code. Under current regulations, these groups can engage in politics, but their primary mission cannot be to influence the outcome of elections.

The current regulations have led IRS agents to ask groups intrusive questions about the amount of time they spend on activities that are potentially political.

The proposed rules would limit certain “candidate-related political activity.” But the rules leave open the question of how much the activity would be restricted.

Limited activities would include voter drives and voter registration efforts, as well as ads that “expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party.” Also included would be ads that mention a politician or a political party within 60 days of a general election or 30 days before a primary.


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