Free Speech Rights Still Under Review

Free Speech Rights Still Under Review

April 24, 2014

Following the record-breaking 150,000 comments sent during the public commenting period when the IRS announced proposed rules that would limit free speech for tax-exempt groups, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced that they may rewrite these rules.  From USA Today:


"In all likelihood we will re-propose a redefined rule and ask for more public comment," Koskinen told USA TODAY's Capital Download. It's a process he predicts will take "until the end of the year and beyond" to complete. The proposed regulation of groups known as 501(c)(4)s drew a record 150,000 comments before the deadline in late February.

He said the new rule would take into account backlash from conservative Tea Party groups as well as some liberal advocacy organizations that the agency's proposal – intended to address concerns that the tax-exempt groups were engaged in partisan warfare – would bar, even voter education and registration programs.

He was interviewed on the eve of Tax Day, the April 15 deadline for Americans to file their returns.

"I think we have to take all of that into consideration," Koskinen told the weekly video newsmaker series. "There are very thoughtful comments and concerns, and one of the questions that has evoked a lot of comment is, once you define what political activity is, to what organizations should it apply in the 501(c) context and how much of it should be allowed? All of that is going to be very important."

It’s important to note that if it wasn’t for Americans standing up for their free speech rights, the IRS would have continued on the path of limiting these rights.  Despite their public contrition on the proposed rules, they still intend to re-propose more rules behind closed doors.  That means our right to free speech is still under review by an IRS committed to limiting it. 





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