Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced legislation prohibiting for one year the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from issuing or finalizing proposed 501(c)(4) regulations issued last November. Treasury’s proposed rules would significantly alter 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization activities and restrict First Amendment rights. Other tax-exempt organizations, including labor unions, would not be subject to the same rules. Last week, a letter signed by more than 50 conservative and free market groups expressed similar concerns and called on Congress to block the proposed regulations. Camp, who has led the investigation into the IRS’s abuse of conservative groups, released the following statement:
“Despite the Administration’s insistence that ‘there’s nothing to see here,’ the Committee has found evidence demonstrating that right-leaning groups were targeted to an extent far beyond what was reported by the Inspector General. Our investigation is still ongoing and the Committee has not received all the requested documents. It is premature to publish new rules before getting all of the facts. The Administration’s proposed rules openly target groups that are exercising their First Amendment rights. We cannot allow these draft regulations to go into effect. Congress must make sure every American’s right to participate and engage in civic debate is protected, and this legislation will provide some much-needed assurance that IRS targeting and surveillance will not continue.
“Additionally, I am disappointed by reports that the Department of Justice had decided – without conducting a serious investigation – that it will not to pursue criminal charges in the IRS’s intentional targeting of conservative groups. I have long said that we will follow the facts of this case wherever the facts lead us – and this case is far from closed.”
The bill, H.R. 3865, “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014” can be read here.
- Under proposed Treasury regulations (published November 29, 2013), 501(c)(4) organizations cannot engage in voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities, or convene candidate forums without jeopardizing their exempt status even though those activities are expressly allowed for 501(c)(3) organizations.
- The bill would prohibit Treasury, including the IRS, from finalizing the proposed rules for one-year in order to allow for the completion of the IRS targeting investigation and a thorough public discussion, including a review of public comments related to the proposed regulations.