McConnell: Stop IRS from suppressing free speech

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) demanded Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) not impose a rule denying tax-exempt status to political groups.

“Left, Right, or Center — folks understand what a threat this rule poses to our most cherished of civil liberties,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

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McConnell made the comments on the last day for the public to comment on the proposed rule change that would limit political activity of groups seeking tax-exempt status.

“People are making their voices heard, loudly, and the message they’re broadcasting is pretty clear: ‘Leave the First Amendment alone,’ ” McConnell said.

The House also voted 243-176 on Wednesday to delay the rule.

The rule change was suggested after reports last year that the administration had targeted Tea Party-affiliated groups, denying them tax-exempt status.

McConnell called on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to “do the right thing” by stopping the regulation.