Liberals and Conservatives Object to IRS Rule on Nonprofit Politicking

Opposition to proposed new Internal Revenue Service restrictions on political activity by “social welfare” nonprofits is growing, and is crossing ideological lines, according to The New York Times.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other left-leaning organizations are voicing objections to Obama administration’s plan to more specifically define what constitutes impermissible electioneering by 501(c)(4) groups, saying it would crack down on all manner of political engagement, not just activity benefiting a particular candidate.

Congressional Republicans have vociferously opposed the changes, introducing legislation this week to require a one-year delay in implementation and calling on the White House to abandon the rule, which GOP leaders claim is aimed at quelling conservative groups. Campaign-finance watchdog groups are backing the reform, calling it a first step in regulating the flood of “dark money” into the campaign process.

The IRS said it has received more than 23,000 comments, a record for an agency proposal, ahead of a Feb. 27 deadline for the public to air views on the proposal.

The Times also published an information graphic showing how IRS rules on nonprofit politicking have been interpreted by courts and the tax agency since the early 2000s.

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