CEI Comments to the IRS on Proposed New Restrictions on Candidate-Related Activities of 501(c)(4) Organizations

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The Treasury Department’s proposed rule has been extensively criticized by a wide array of individuals and organizations across the political spectrum. The grounds for their opposition ranges from freedom of speech, to citizen participation, to the Department’s lack of statutory authority. CEI agrees with many of these points, but our comments below focus primarily on one specific issue: the Treasury Department’s improper attempt to redefine non-partisan criticism of non-elected government officials, including communications with lawmakers about executive-branch and judicial nominations, as “candidate-related political activity”, in order to restrict such activity by 501(c)(4) groups. 78 Fed. Reg. at 71538. The proposed rule would also unconstitutionally restrict non-profits’ advice to the executive branch about nominations.