- - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Culture challenge of the week: Legalizing IRS discrimination

Remember the recent IRS scandal? The Internal Revenue Service admitted to improperly targeting conservative and libertarian groups, individuals and their families — and not just groups involved in the political process. It even targeted the family counseling radio show “FamilyTalk,” on whose board of directors I serve.

Yet President Obama told Fox News show host Bill O’Reilly in a recent interview that there is “not even a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS.

Now the IRS is proposing rules to make its illegal efforts to silence conservatives an official part of its regulatory code.

Not only would these oppressive regulations trample the First Amendment, but they also would unfairly favor liberal groups over conservative and libertarian organizations.

Why? Instead of simply harassing conservative groups and individuals, or delaying or denying requests for tax-exempt status, the IRS now is trying to dissuade conservatives from applying for tax-exempt status in the first place by changing the standards required to receive it. For groups that already exist, the IRS seeks to bar them from educating voters about the voting records and stated positions of those in power. These proposed limits on political speech are so severe that one can’t help but think of two things — the KGB and the question, “What are they afraid of?”

Nonprofit groups designated as 501(c) 4 already are limited in their ability to engage in “candidate-related political activity.” The regulations are meant to broaden the definitions of “candidate” and “political activity” to give the IRS more power to regulate conservative action. But get this: The rules would not apply to labor unions or trade associations — many of which have long supported liberal causes.

The rules would bar:

Criticism of incumbents 30 days before primary elections and 60 days before general elections. In other words, you can’t speak poorly about those in power.

Any references to politicians (candidates, appointees, etc.).

Hosting candidate debates.

Posting voting records of incumbents on websites before elections.

Creating or distributing voter guides.

Phone calls about upcoming elections, even when no candidate is mentioned.

Voter registration drives — no more signing up folks at churches or in your neighborhood, for instance.

Donating money to groups that engage in political activity.

Volunteer activities if they relate to voting or candidates.

Every activity listed above, among others, would have to be submitted to the IRS for review, would be subject to taxation and would be treated as restricted candidate-related political activity. The restrictions include every type of communication — including newspapers, television and oral speech — that can reach 500 or more people.

The proposal is outrageous. If adopted, the United States of America will move one step closer to becoming a country ruled by oppression. And our children will pay the price.

How to save your family: Tell the IRS you value free speech

Before it can finalize the proposed regulations, the IRS must review all public comments. If you comment and the IRS doesn’t address your concerns, the regulations can be overturned.

The deadline for submitting comments to the IRS is Feb. 27. There are two easy ways to submit comments to the IRS without even leaving your home.

You can mail your comments to:

CC: PA: LPD: PR (REG-134417-13) Room 5205

Internal Revenue Service

P.O. Box 7604 Ben Franklin Station

Washington, DC, 20044

You can email them at Regulations.gov. Be sure to include the citation: IRS REG-134417-13 in the subject line or body of your email.

Please cc your congress members on all correspondence to the IRS and keep copies for your own records. You also can spread the word and ask your family members and friends to comment, too.

You can learn more about this proposal in a video by Cleta Mitchell, one of the most courageous and effective lawyers fighting for freedom. Just go to YouTube, type in her name and “IRS.”

As an observation attributed to Plato notes: “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

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