Congressional GOP Fails to Block IRS Power Grab

Obama-appointee-John-KoskinenProposed Rule Hits Voluntary Citizens’ Groups, Exempts Big Labor

(Click to download the March 2014 Newsletter)

Back in January, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) worked hand in hand with Big Labor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the Obama Administration to secure a congressional rubber-stamp for a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package.

This mammoth appropriations measure was adopted within days of its release and with little formal debate.

Two months later, Americans are only beginning to sort through the consequences of the so-called “bipartisan” deal to fund operations of the federal government through this coming September.

One consequence of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014,” otherwise known as H.R.3547, that was clear from the start is that it effectively eliminates for the time being any chance Congress has of stopping a grave threat to free speech emanating from the Obama Treasury Department and IRS.

Proposed Regulation Applies Only to Single-Issue Lobbying Groups Like the Committee

Just before Thanksgiving, President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department launched an assault on First Amendment protections for nonprofit lobbying groups incorporated under the guidelines of Sec.501(c)(4) of the federal tax code.

“The primary function of 501(c)(4) groups like the National Right to Work Committee is to lobby elected officials and candidates on matters of public policy,” noted Committee Vice President Greg Mourad.

“It has long been established under the federal tax code that you cannot deduct contributions to lobbying organizations from your taxable income.

“At the same time, because 501(c)(4)’s never make a profit and don’t contribute any money to political candidates or advocate the election or defeat of any candidates, they are exempt from federal income taxes.

“The Obama Treasury Department and IRS would change all that by redefining mobilization of like-minded citizens to contact their elected officials and candidates on public-policy issues, that is, the core function of groups like the Committee, as taxable ‘political activity.’

“If it is allowed to stand, the effect of the proposed IRS 501(c)(4) rule on the Committee will be to divert a huge share of members’ donated funds, money on which they’ve already paid taxes, into federal tax coffers.”

Unions’ ‘Ability to Function’ Would Be ‘Seriously’ Affected If Rule Were Applied to Them

Mr. Mourad continued: “The 501(c)(4) proposal would represent an outrageous violation of the First Amendment even if it were applied across-the-board. But this proposal is anything but evenhanded.

“As the LM-2 disclosure forms unions themselves file with the U.S. Labor Department show, union bosses are the biggest spenders of all in politics.

“Yet Big Labor’s political machine, estimated to spend roughly a billion dollars a year on politics and lobbying, will remain almost entirely tax-exempt.

“Service Employees International Union lawyer John Sullivan has actually admitted to the Washington Post that, if the proposed 501(c)(4) rule were applied to 501(c)(5)’s, i.e. unions, it would ‘seriously affect’ their ‘ability to function.’

“Of course, Mr. Sullivan and his ilk have little to fear about that. As far as President Obama’s handpicked IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, and his Treasury Department cohorts are concerned, when Big Labor gets out the vote for pro-forced unionism candidates, it isn’t ‘political.’

“Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner and virtually all other Capitol Hill Republicans rhetorically oppose the IRS’s attack on voluntary citizens’ groups, but in January they ignored Right to Work proponents and passed up their only realistic chance to stop this scheme.

“Republican politicians could have refused to fund the IRS until the attack on the free speech of lobbying groups and their members was called off. Instead, they agreed, without any significant protest, to approve full funding for this out-of-control agency.

“Consequently, it appears at this time the only feasible way of stopping the IRS’s scheme is through the courts. Right to Work attorneys are now exploring our options about how this might be done.”