By Jack Minor –
Within just a few days of closing a comment period in which the vast majority spoke out against proposed draconian restrictions on political speech by the IRS, the tax agency went ahead and issued the rules anyway.
“Guess what the IRS did this week?” Cleta Mitchell asked. “At 4:55 p.m. on Tuesday, the IRS buried into a newsletter that from now on all applicants for c-4 status will have to answer all the questions the tea party has been subjected to for the last few years.”
Mitchell is the lead attorney for multiple grass-roots groups who claim to have been targeted for heightened scrutiny by the IRS. The tax agency asked many of the groups a series on invasive questions such as the types of materials its leaders read, a list of donors and even the content of their prayers. Other requirements included promising not to picket outside of Planned Parenthood clinics.
When news of the targeting first broke the IRS insisted it was only conducted by a pair of rogue agents out of the Cincinnati office who were acting on their own without the knowledge of those above them.
However, agents in the Cincinnati office said they were acting at the behest of superiors and emails obtained by a congressional committee have revealed that the IRS’s claim of two agents being the sole perpetrators is not correct.
Following pressure the IRS then attempted to claim the targeting was done with good intentions because of unclear direction from congress. In an attempt to clear up the confusion the IRS then said it was issuing new regulations as a response to prevent further abuses.
However, emails have revealed that the IRS was actually discussing issuing these types of rules prior to news of their targeting tea party groups. This has prompted some to speculate that the announcement of the rules are simply an attempt to cover up what happened with the targeting of conservative groups who had the applications held up for years, while liberal groups had their applications fast tracked.
The new rules come just scant days after the period for commenting on the rules had expired, suggesting the agency had already made up its mind to issue the rules regardless of concerns by Americans.
Mitchell noted that the rules are so egregious that it prohibits organizations such as CPAC from inviting candidates to speak if they were running for office in even numbered years. It would also prevent any mention of the candidate or issues on any type of media produced by the organization. During the election cycle, even archived articles would need to be purged from websites.
However, the IRS rules do not apply to labor unions who are conducting similar events, which has caused outrage by those who say that the agency limiting the rules to those in conservative groups smacks of a double standard to help President Obama and the democrats hold on to power.