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IN OPPOSITION TO “THE MUZZLE RULE”
by Alex Vidal, Communications Director, Tax Revolution Institute (TRI)
(Aug. 9, 2016) — Washington, DC — The free-speech rights of nonprofit organizations, such as advocacy groups, educational institutions, labor unions, and business leagues, are under serious threat, and the clock is ticking.
In response, the Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) — a Washington-based nonprofit group that promotes “justice and integrity in the tax system” — has launched the First Amendment Alliance: a non-partisan effort to protect the free-speech rights of nonprofits.
The Alliance aims to put a stop to a new rule that was introduced by the Internal Revenue Service in 2013. The IRS’s “muzzle rule” would redefine the meaning of “electioneering” to include constitutionally protected speech, such as news reporting and issue advocacy. The agency’s proposed definition of electioneering is so broad, in fact, that any discussion of politicians, their voting records, or even the mere mention of a political candidate’s name, is enough to have an organization stripped of its tax-exempt status.
Other prohibited activity under the muzzle rule would include: organizing voter-registration drives, publishing voter guides or candidate questionnaires, and discussing issues “related” to candidates. As a result, thousands of nonprofit groups would be effectively silenced.
While Congress intervened in November 2015 to defund the IRS from taking action on the new rule, those protections are set to expire on October 1 of this year, and time is running out.
The Tax Revolution Institute is calling on concerned citizens and organizations affected by this rule to act now by joining the First Amendment Alliance and taking the fight to Congress. “The free-speech rights of nonprofits are clearly established and essential for an informed civil society,” TRI Program Director Jason Casella said. “They should not be subject to the interpretation of the IRS, regardless of the agency’s best possible intentions.”
TRI believes that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the proper agency to define and monitor “electioneering,” and set limits if applicable, not the Treasury Department’s tax-collection agency. Congress must take legislative action to prevent the IRS from opening the door to crippling red tape for even the most non-political organizations.
For more information, go to: https://taxrevolution.us/first-amendment-alliance/
About the Tax Revolution Institute
The Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3)-pending organization dedicated to promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity at all levels of the US tax system, while researching and developing simple and innovative tax-reform solutions to advance freedom and prosperity for all Americans.
Through FOIA requests, briefings, testimonies, advocacy, research studies, white papers, and educational programs, TRI will expose corruption, fraud, and incompetence within the US tax system. It will provide educational tools and resources for tax accountability to policy makers, grassroots organizations, and the American public.
Learn more at https://taxrevolution.us/
Media Kit: https://taxrevolution.us/media-kit/