NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 3865, the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014.” This legislation would delay for one year a proposed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) modification of existing rules that determine whether or not an organization is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Due in part to the ongoing nature of the investigation into potential political discrimination on the part of the IRS in evaluating 501(c)(4) applications it would be ill-advised to rush through a radical new rule change at this time. Equally important, the “off-plan” manner in which the proposed rule was drafted raises serious procedural questions.
The proposed rule would significantly restrict the ability of (c)(4) organizations, including NTU, to educate citizens. Among the harsh measures contemplated in the proposal are barring the mention of candidates’ names or parties (even in a non-political context) and forcing organizations to hide past references to candidates online and off. If implemented, this would chill legitimate communications over issues that incumbents in Congress are debating in election years. Together with other burdensome new regulations, the IRS’s rule would severely impair the ability of organizations to continue holding elected officials accountable and ultimately constitute a profound infringement on our First Amendment rights.
Selectively limiting the activities of one particular type of organization is a giant thumb on the free-speech scale in favor of unions and rent-seeking special interests. There are also practical considerations; as the Center for Competitive Politics recently noted, the proposal violates the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) owing to “excessively low and wildly off the mark” estimates of compliance burdens. Congress should step in to uphold the PRA.
Roll call votes on H.R. 3865 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700