Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Obama Administration’s Attempts to Restrict Inconvenient Voices ‘Cannot be Allowed to Go Forward’

 House passes legislation to halt IRS discrimination against conservative groups

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, issued the following statement after the House passed the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act (H.R. 3865):“When the IRS was caught discriminating against conservative groups, Obama Administration officials said it was all a misunderstanding and certainly not political. Similarly, they said new regulations governing 501(c)(4)s were proposed in order to prevent confusion with the law—but it just so happens they would actually reverse more than five decades of policy and muzzle nonprofit groups the White House disagrees with politically. Now, thanks to internal emails from Treasury and IRS officials uncovered through our Committee’s investigation, we know the real story. The Obama Administration’s attempts to change the law and restrict inconvenient voices cannot be allowed to go forward, and that’s why I supported this bill.”H.R. 3865 would prohibit for one year the Department of Treasury and the IRS from finalizing the regulations regarding 501(c)(4)s the Administration issued on November 29, 2013.

The Daily Caller reported February 5: “The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules ‘off-plan,’ meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested. The rules place would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of non-profit groups. ‘Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off -plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting…,’ Treasury official Ruth Madrigal wrote in a June 14, 2012 email to [former IRS official Lois] Lerner[.]”

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