Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) and other Republican senators announced their legislation Tuesday to stop the Internal Revenue Service from not granting nonprofit, tax-exempt status to political groups.
“No president of either party should use the power of the federal government to punish his ideological opponents,” McConnell said.
“Instead of putting safeguards in place to protect our civil liberties, the Obama administration is now dragging the IRS back in the opposite direction,” McConnell said. “It’s now pushing a regulation that would actually entrench and encourage the harassment of groups that dare to speak up and engage in the conversation.”
Currently, 501(c)(4) organizations can engage in political activities on a limited basis, as long as their primary activity is the promotion of social welfare. In November, the IRS proposed new regulations that would no longer allow these organizations to engage in political activity and receive tax-exempt status. The final rules would take effect before the 2014 elections.
The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act would delay the implementation of the rules for one year. The House Ways and Means Committee is considering companion legislation.
GOP Sens. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeTrudeau, Trump speak for second night about US-Canada trade Trump says he may break up 9th Circuit Court after rulings go against him Trump administration weighing order to withdraw from NAFTA MORE (Ariz.), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchWhen political opportunity knocked, Jason Chaffetz never failed to cash in Ginsburg pines for more collegial court confirmations Senate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' MORE (Utah), Pat RobertsPat RobertsTrump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Energy: Trump to sign orders on offshore drilling, national monuments Watchdog: EPA spending on water pollution campaign was legal MORE (Kan.) and John Cornyn (Texas) joined McConnell on the Senate floor Tuesday to roll out the bill.
Roberts said the rule proposed by the administration resembled something from a “counter espionage handbook.” And Hatch said it was an “affront to free speech.”
They called on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to halt the regulation but said their bill would be a “backup plan” to ensure Koskinen couldn’t enact the rule.
“Commissioner Koskinen could go down in history as a hero, just like the IRS Commissioner who stood up to Nixon and said no to harassment of political opponents,” McConnell said. “I want to believe that this is the choice he will make — that he wants to be remembered as a strong and independent public servant, rather than some political pawn.”