Wyoming Liberty Group
Wyoming Liberty Group and Republic Free Choice Submit Comments Opposing Proposed IRS Non-Profit Rules
CHEYENNE – Wyoming Liberty Group, joined by Republic Free Choice, submitted public comments to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) today, discussing problems with the federal agency’s proposed rulemaking regarding non-profit advocacy groups. The proposed rules come less than a year after the agency admitted to invasive scrutiny of numerous Tea Party groups that applied for nonprofit status.
“The IRS’s proposed solution to tying up the groups some don’t like in red tape creates an even bigger problem: it would tie everyone up in red tape.” said Benjamin Barr, lead counsel in the WyLiberty Legal Center. “If ratified, these rules would wreak havoc on non-profit groups nationwide—of all political stripes—leaving only those with the best lawyers and accountants free to speak.”
WyLiberty’s comments focus on the IRS’s proposal to expand the definition of political activity, which would in turn make it more difficult for non-profit advocacy groups to advocate political issues and maintain their tax status. Specifically, the comments criticize the IRS’s attempt to mimic policies and practices of the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”).
“If clarity is really their objective, the FEC is the last place the IRS should look,” said Barr. “The FEC’s regulations and practices are constantly challenged in court and often struck down for violating the First Amendment. The IRS should instead follow the courts’ guidance in these cases and make free speech the goal of their rulemaking instead of the target.”
WyLiberty’s comments also note that IRS regulations functioned fairly well before the Tea Party targeting scandal, and that the proposed rules would upset important Supreme Court precedents regarding non-profit tax status. “If the proposed revisions are acted upon, the IRS would place all of its rules governing 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations in constitutional jeopardy,” explained Barr.
The IRS has received tens of thousands of comments on these proposed rules, and today was the final day for submission.
“WyLiberty has written several influential friend-of-the-court briefs over the years,” said Steve Klein, WyLiberty staff attorney. “These comments continue our mission to contribute important arguments for individual liberty that are otherwise unaddressed.”