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Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer representing tea party groups fighting the changes, said the IRS has become a “rogue, lawless agency” and “the enforcement arm for the Democratic Party.”

“We are in a death struggle over the First Amendment and the right of the citizens of this country to criticize their government,” Mrs. Mitchell said. “There are some of us who are going to do everything we can do to stand in front of that IRS tank in Tiananmen Square. We are going to do everything we can to slow these down.”

Mrs. Mitchell sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget this week on behalf of tea party groups requesting that the IRS and Treasury Department look into whether the proposed rules comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act and other related executive orders.

Mrs. Mitchell also requested all the internal and external documents that were used as a basis for writing the draft rules and is considering filing a lawsuit demanding that the comment period on the changes — which is scheduled to end Feb. 27 — is extended until she receives the information requested.

Mr. McConnell has tried to stop the proposed rules by stripping out funding in the 2014 spending bill. Democrats objected, however, and prevented him from attaching language to the bill.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, is pushing legislation that would postpone the rule changes for a year, and his committee has scheduled a hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen next week to inquire about the rules and other IRS changes in the wake of the tea party scandal.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents more than 40 groups suing the Obama administration over IRS targeting, says the draft regulations “appear to be an attempt to double down on the improper actions of the IRS with respect to the rights of conservative, grass-roots organizations to engage in free speech and free association.”