New IRS Regulations to Silence Obama Opponents

irs-and-right-wingersLast year when the IRS was caught harassing Obama’s political opponents it looked like there might actually be some consequences for those who had ordered the harassment. After all, President Nixon had been caught doing the same thing, and look what happened to him. Some things change, but mostly the use of the IRS by Presidents as a weapon against political opponents is nothing new.

In this case, however, with the help of a sympathetic media, the scandal was quickly marginalized. The IRS employees involved in stifling Obama opponents took the fifth. They then moved on to take cushy, inflation adjusted retirements that those of us in the private sector won’t see in our wildest dreams of avarice. The IRS issued a few lame apologies and everything went back to normal.

When heads didn’t roll, the Obama administration got the message and decided to double down. The IRS has now proposed to institutionalize the silencing of conservative groups with new regulations designed for the purpose.  Naturally, progressive political allies, like trade unions and labor association have been deliberately exempted from the new rules.

You can find the newly proposed regs here: New IRS Regulations to Silence Obama Opponents.

Few of us have the patience or time to wade through the lawyerly obfuscation in the language of regulations, so I’ll summarize briefly for you here.

Among the things that are PROHIBITED outright, are the use of words like “oppose,” “vote,” “support,” “defeat,” and “reject.” Mention the name of a political candidate on your website or in an email that goes to more then 500 people a month before a primary or two months before a general election and you’ve broken the law. Mentioning the name of a political party is similarly prohibited if that party has a candidate running. Non-partisan voter registration and “get out the vote” drives are prohibited, as is creating or distributing “voter guides” that merely list politicians’ voting records. Your group may also not host debates, fundraisers, or even a speech by a candidate who is actively running for office within the 30 and 60 day time frames.

Among the new RESTRICTIONS on exempt organizations are that their employees may not volunteer for political campaigns, nor may they distribute materials prepared for candidates, or speak publicly about voting records, legislation, or incumbents. Officers of the organizations can’t talk about the nomination of judges.

The new regulations create a 90 day blackout period for exempt organizations during election years. They declare that political activity is “contrary to the promotion of social welfare.” And, of course, favored progressive lobbying organizations like labor unions and trade associations are exempt from the regulations.

For more detail I recommend Matt Barber’s WND article, you can find it here:Obama Moves to Weaponize IRS.

If you are inclined to try to stop politically motivated regulation:

You may file a public comment in opposition to this proposed IRS regulation at All comments are due by Feb. 27, 2014.

And if you believe your legislators give a hoot about what you think please sign this petition to the Senate Committee on Finance, Taxation and IRS Oversight to ensure that all 501(c)(4) organizations formed to promote conservative values will be treated fairly by the IRS.


Lysander Venible is the author of "On Your Own in Tax Court," a book about how to save your shirt in U.S. tax court. He has been engaged with the Service for over 10 years both administratively and in tax court.

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Lysander is not an attorney and it is not his intent to offer legal advice.

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