WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced legislation he cosponsored to prevent unfair targeting by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has passed the House of Representatives. After it was revealed the IRS targeted groups and individuals based on their political beliefs, the House began holding numerous oversight hearings investigating this abuse of power.
The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 is one legislative solution which emerged from these hearings. The legislation prevents the Treasury and IRS from finalizing proposed tax exemption rule changes for 501(c)(4) organizations which would significantly limit the First Amendment rights of these groups by delaying them for at least one year.
“We know the IRS was unfairly targeting organizations based on their political beliefs while also writing new rules to subject them to an unprecedented amount of scrutiny. Now the Obama Administration wants to rush forward with the finalization of these measures even as 94,000 public comments have been received, mostly in opposition. The immense public interest from all political sides should be enough to compel the administration to suspend rulemaking which will suppress free speech,” said Cramer.
The IRS has not amended the rule relating to 501(c)(4) organizations since 1959. According to a June 2012 email between Treasury officials and then-IRS Director of Tax Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, work on the new regulation was conducted “off-plan” to avoid being placed on the public schedule.