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Cleta Chronicles: IRS scandals, part 4

Paul Mirengoff has explained what the IRS is up to in its proposed rulemaking under section 501(c)(4) in the post “The IRS’s latest attempt to silence conservatives.” The proposed regulation means to institutionalize the criminal misconduct of the IRS that has sent many clients to Washington superlawyer Cleta Mitchell, the star of this series.

The IRS and the Obama administration are deep into the cover-up phase of the IRS’s criminal misconduct. Cleta has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents relating to the proposed rule. In the video below, she explains the peculiarities of the IRS’s response to her request.

Brad Smith and his colleagues at the Center for Competitive Politics have compiled an invaluable, heavily footnoted document setting forth the efforts by the regulatory agencies to police political speech at the behest of the Democratic Party: “The IRS harassment scandal: A timeline of ‘reform.’” Here is where the proposed regulation fits in:

November 26, 2013: In an effort to “help the government avoid future dust-ups with politically active nonprofit organizations,” the IRS proposes new rules to restrict what the Agency deems as excessive spending on campaigns by tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups. The proposed rules broadly expand the definition of “political activity” to include activities that have never before been deemed as “political,” such as voter-registration drives and the production of nonpartisan legislative scorecards, potentially jeopardizing the tax-exempt status of many nonprofit groups on both sides of the political spectrum.124 Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal suggests that the “Treasury [Department] appears to have combed through those tea party applications, compiled all the groups’ main activities, and then restricted those activities in the new rule,” noting that most of the aforementioned nonpartisan activities previously considered to be for social welfare would become illegal under the new regulations. Strassel sees the proposed rules as a continuation of the IRS targeting, only now codified in law. Comments on the proposed rulemaking are due to the IRS by February 27.

Brad Smith and Allan Dickerson have filed a comment exhaustively criticizing the proposed rule here. Readers can still submit comments today and tomorrow through the close of business via the IRS portal here.

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