In case you wonder whether the IRS is finished with its blatant attempt to minimize free speech in this country…
…I strongly suggest you read today\’s editorial in the Chicago Tribune, which goes into detail about the new ways of doing so it is aggressively trying to implement.
I will give you a taste below – but I urge you in strongest terms to click here and read every word:
TheInternal Revenue Service is used to being universally disliked everyApril 15. But this year, the widespread denunciations have startedearly, and for good reason.
InNovember, the agency issued proposed new rules that are supposed tokeep social welfare organizations from abusing their legal privilegesby engaging in excessive electioneering. The effort came in responseto complaints from Democrats about a 2012 surge in political spendingby such tax-exempt groups, by the conservative Koch brothers andothers to influence elections.
TheIRS wants to curb such efforts, and it doesn\’t display much concernabout the likely effect on free speech. But groups that engage inpolitical advocacy, including the nonpartisan kind, are genuinelyalarmed.
Theagency does not get, or deserve, the benefit of the doubt in thisrealm – if only because it got caught targeting certainconservative organizations. In considering requests for tax-exemptstatus, it singled out groups with the term “tea party” or”patriot” in their names for extra scrutiny.
Aninvestigation by the Treasury Department\’s inspector general foundthe IRS guilty of using “inappropriate criteria,” delayingaction, and pelting organizations with “unnecessary, burdensomequestions,” such as the names of present and past donors. Theagency had to admit the practice was “absolutely inappropriateand not the way we should do things.”
Butofficials don\’t seem to have learned the lesson about notdiscouraging free speech on political matters.
Thesimplest way for nonprofits to stay out of trouble, of course, wouldbe to simply shut up. So the likely – and unhealthy – consequencewill be to reduce the amount of advocacy and educational informationavailable to the public, not only about elections but about all sortsof policy issues.
That\’sreason enough for the IRS to scrap the proposal and start over. Inguaranteeing freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the FirstAmendment was meant to promote an informed, aware and engagedcitizenry. This rule would do just the opposite.
Does that scare you? Make you wonder whether free speech is still a revered part of this country\’s makeup? I hope so, because it should.
Now let\’s think about what\’s really going on here:
-The IRS – clearly supported by the Obama administration – spent years doing whatever it could to prevent groups with names suggesting opposition to Obama policy from receiving tax-exempt status – even as many liberal/leftward groups were handed such status on a silver platter;
-During this time, most mainstream news venues – acting for all the world as Barack Obama\’s Accomplice Media – looked the other way, thus acting as the IRS\’s enablers;
-Common sense tells us, therefore, that even if some pro-Obama groups might be affected by the new proposals, their main thrust will be to even further intimidate, even further suppress, the same people as before;
-And since the only reason the IRS has gotten away with this monumental abuse of power in the past is that a great many mainstream media venues acted as its enablers, they are counting on getting away with this latest abuse of power the same way.
The Chicago Tribune has provided a significant public service by publishing today\’s editorial. Unfortunately, however, I am not optimistic that enough other media venues will follow suit to shame the IRS, and the Obama administration, into backing off – though I fervently hope that they will.
Freedom of speech-wise, I would like my country back.