- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A conservative group is bankrolling a new television ad in Minnesota that accuses Sen. Al Franken of supporting IRS rule changes that would curtail free speech.

The minute-long ad, which started running Wednesday and is paid for by American Encore, warns that the Obama administration is proposing new rules at the IRS that aims to limit the free speech of nonprofit groups and that Mr. Franken in 2012 pressured the federal tax agency to crack down on these groups.

“He thinks that free speech should depend on who is speaking and wants the IRS to make that call,” the narrator says. “The American Civil Liberties Union says the proposed rule threatens to discourage or sterilize an enormous amount of political discourse in America. Tell Sen. Franken to stop attacking free speech.”

American Encore is run by Sean Noble, who previously ran the Center for Protect Patient Rights and has had ties to the outside advocacy groups that have received money from Charles and David Koch.


The Franken campaign told the Wall Street Journal that the accusation is “ridiculous.”

Sen. Franken is one of the most vigorous defenders of free speech in the Senate,” Alexandra Fetissoff, a campaign spokesman, told the Wall Street Journal.

American Encore is run by Sean Noble, who previously ran the Center to Protect Patient Rights and has had ties to the outside advocacy groups that have received money from Charles and David Koch, who have become favorite targets of the political left.

American Encore plans to sink $10 million into an ad campaign that aims to expose lawmakers that “seek to use the IRS against political enemies.”

“As our sense of American greatness declines, so too does our willingness to defend those very principles that make us so exceptional,” Mr. Noble said in a news release. “The IRS limits the free speech of nonprofits, the government spies on citizens and journalists, and the White House bypasses Congress — the people’s representatives — legislating through Executive Order and federal agency regulations.”

“It’s a vicious cycle,” he said. “Americans no longer believe our nation to be exceptional, and so, we elect politicians who make us less exceptional, and the qualities that made us great, erode.”

The group also plans to oppose Obamacare and push for “meaningful entitlement reforms.”

Mr. Franken eked out a victory over Sen. Norm Coleman in the 2008 election and is up for re-election this fall. The latest poll in the race shows Mr. Franken with an 8-percentage point lead in his hypothetical general election match up with Republican Julianne Ortman and a 10-percentage point lead over Republican Mike McFadden.

American Encore is funneling $250,000 into the spot in Minnesota, according to The Journal.

In the new ad, the narrator poses the question: “Where would we be without free speech?”

“We haven’t always agreed on what’s said, but until now we’ve always agreed on each others right to say it,” the narrator says.