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The Latest IRS Power Grab (Letter)

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The Latest IRS Power Grab (Letter)

Mr. Smith rightly criticizes proposed IRS rules "limiting political speech" by nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups. Those rules restrict even truthful, nonpartisan criticism of IRS and bureaucratic wrongdoing by classifying it as "candidate-related political activity."

For example, if an IRS official subjects citizens to incredibly burdensome demands for irrelevant information just to harass them for their political or religious beliefs, no 501(c)(4) group could later criticize that official's nomination to be IRS commissioner, without engaging in restricted activity. That's because the IRS's proposed regulation defines even unelected government officials, like agency heads and judges, as "candidates" if they have been nominated for a position requiring Senate confirmation. The IRS's proposed rules are an attack on the First Amendment that will make it easier for the government to get away with harassing political dissenters and whistleblowers in the future.