Less than two weeks after President Obama insisted that there wasn't even a "smidgen of corruption" involved in the IRS targeting scandal, it appears that the scope of that scandal is widening.And the Democrats want the IRS to do more. From The Hill:
Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, revealed yesterday that the committee's investigation had found that it wasn't only conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status that came in for IRS targeting and harassment. Existing 501(c)(4)'s were targeted, as well. In fact, Camp stated,
At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.
That's right -- "somehow," every single 501(c)(4) that the IRS selected to endure the time, expense, distraction and stress of an audit just happened to be conservative.
Senate Democrats facing tough elections this year want the Internal Revenue Service to play a more aggressive role in regulating outside groups expected to spend millions of dollars on their races.The focus is on groups that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The law states that 501(c)(4) groups must be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, but the IRS has traditionally adopted a more lenient standard, said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center.The IRS plans on issuing new regulations:
The IRS says social-welfare activity must be the primary activity of such groups. It gives them broad leeway by not classifying voter registration drives and even ads that criticize candidates as political activity.
Under new proposed regulations by the Treasury Department, the IRS would define voter registration, distributing voter guides and running ads that mention candidates as political activities.
It also proposed setting a bright-line limit for what percentage of groups’ activity would be allowed to fall into the category of candidate-related political activity.So ads supporting broader social programs, abortions, illegal immigration--and, of course, mentioning or being narrated by politicians who support the same--will be fine; but ads supporting limited government, pro-life, and curbing the influx of illegal aliens will be "political," and verboten.