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Saturday, February 15, 2014

IRS regulations will prohibit free speech

Art credit: alvinteapartypatriots.org

Thunderclap sounded the alarm:
The Internal Revenue Service has quietly announced a new rule that strictly limits the ability of 501(c)(4), tax-exempt organizations from working on their core missions in the months leading up to federal, state, and local elections. The proposed regulations would prohibit these organizations from engaging in candidate-related political activity, which, by the proposed rule's definition, includes any mention of a candidate's name or political party even if presented in a non-political context. 

Further, organizations would have to ensure that any references to candidates in past communications are not publicly available, including online, during the pre-election window. These regulations would, in effect, prohibit organizations from providing the public with candidate comparisons and voting records, engaging in get-out-the-vote activities, or encouraging informed civic participation, among other activities. They would severely limit both the organizations' First Amendment free speech and the public's ability to hold elected officials accountable for their actions.

Cleveland Tea Party Patriots has been particularly active in organizing candidate forums, preparing report cards, and facilitating get-out-the-vote activities. All those are at risk. This update is from NumbersUSA, which
asked for your help in stopping a proposed IRS rule that would prohibit certain non-profit organizations, including NumbersUSA Action, from educating voters during the election season. If approved, the rule would have serious implications for our grade cards and free faxing. . .
There was a tremendous response. More than 27,000 comments have already been submitted to the Federal Regulations website - most in protest of the rule. This week, the Washington Post reported that the response has shattered “the Internal Revenue Service’s previous records” for public comments on a proposed rule.
A staff lawyer for Common Cause, a non-profit group that opposes the rule, said it’s being “pummeled.”
Organizations from both the political right and left have spoken out against the rule, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Conservation Voters, and Tea Party Patriots just to name a few. Last week, 41 Senators joined the fight by offering legislation that would prevent the rule from taking effect.
The momentum is clearly on our side, but we don’t want to take any chances. Will you submit a comment today? The website ProtectC4FreeSpeech.com has background information on the rule and sample comments. Plus, there’s a link that takes you directly to the submission form on Regulations.gov.
The deadline for comments is February 27, so there are only two weeks left. Please consider helping in this effort!
Take 30 second to register your views of this affront to First Amendment rights. The 27,000 comments is just a start. 
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