By Rick Manning
You did it!
Citizens concerned about the IRS’ abuse of power against tea party organizations rose up and told the IRS to stop their assault on First Amendment rights in record numbers.
In response to the more than 150,000 comments (approximately 95 percent negative toward the regulation), IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted, “That’s a record for an IRS rulemaking comment period. In fact, if you take all the comments on all Treasury and IRS draft proposals over the last seven years and double that number, you come close to the number of comments we are now beginning to review and analyze.”
Koskinen continued saying, “It’s going to take us a while to sort through all those comments, hold a public hearing, possibly repropose a draft regulation and get more public comments. This means that it is unlikely we will be able to complete this process before the end of the year.”
This changed timetable is a huge victory.
President Obama was demanding that this regulation be completed before the 2014 election, but instead 150,000 citizens stood up to him and demanded that the regulation be taken down.
Senator Ted Cruz made this point emphatically saying, “When Americans speak up, it makes a difference. A record number of Americans spoke out against a regulation being considered by the IRS to stifle free speech of 501(c)(4) political groups. As a result, it is unlikely those rules will be implemented this year. This is a substantial victory for the grassroots and should serve as motivation to continue pressuring the IRS to drop the rule completely.”
And as usual Senator Cruz hits the nail on the head. The victory of slowing the regulatory process is only meaningful if it ends up with the IRS dropping this rule altogether. The truth is that there never was any confusion about what activity a (c)(4) corporation could engage in, until Obama was elected and Lois Lerner came to the IRS with their agenda to silence conservative groups.
Rather than resting on the laurels of this temporary reprieve from the IRS’ attack on First Amendment freedom of political expression, individuals and groups need to redouble efforts to insist that Congress use their Constitutional power of the purse to hold the IRS accountable and end this whole regulatory scheme.
Failure to take this next step will mean that while this injustice was delayed, this injustice will not be denied. And that would be disastrous for the future of political dissent in America.
Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government