The left is using the regulatory system to try to shut conservatives up.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
The IRS denied or delayed 501(c)(4) applications for conservative groups. So what, tax law is too confusing to understand anyway.
It’s not a tax law matter. It’s a free speech matter. The IRS denied conservatives their free speech, which helped Obama get re-elected. Here’s how it works:
Candidate Joe needs money to buy advertising to convince ordinary voters to Vote For Joe. Candidate Joe raises money by asking for donations. The implied promise is the more you give, the more likely Joe will take your call telling him how bad HR 123 will be for the people he represents.
Ordinary voters can’t afford to buy access so Congress imposed individual contribution limits. But clever people work around those laws through bundling donations or establishing political action committees or educational non-profit groups to amplify donors message loud enough to be heard by voters and politicians. The tax code section that governs these groups is 501(c)(4). Both sides use it to get their message out.
If one political party can use IRS to delay approval of the other political party’s tax status until after the election, then people won’t donate and the message won’t get out to the voters to Vote For Joe. Joe will lose because the IRS delay has the effect of denying Joe’s donors their freedom to pool their money to buy political speech.
This isn’t about hazy guidelines or bumbling management. Democrats used the power of government to silence Republicans. This is a direct attack on our First Amendment rights. That’s why it matters.
The IRS is just the national incarnation of this issue.
The DFL has been doing the same thing for years here in Minnesota. Scarcely a single conservative or Republican active in Minnesota politics avoids having some DFL apparatchik file a Campaign Finance Board complaint against them at some point – or many points – in their political career. These filings usually come with a flurry of breathless media coverage – designed, naturally, to give the likes of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” a chanting point to use against the candidate.
The accusations usually fall flat, after the race, with no media coverage.
We saw this writ small and dim a few years back, during the 2010 campaign, when a couple of DFL bloggers with deep pockets and lots of extra time on their hands filed a CFB complaint against the King Banaian campaign. As we pointed out in this space, there was no there there, and the CFB agreed – but, I suspect, it wasn’t about any actual complaint. It was about getting the low-information voters who are the mainstay of the DFL effort to chant something on cue – and, mostly, about trying to use the bureaucracy to shut conservatives up.
Look for more of this at all levels.