NYT: IRS should move ahead with proposed rules

The IRS should plow ahead with its proposals to clarify rules for tax-exempt groups, The New York Times's editorial page says.

The liberal editorial board says that the IRS should brush aside criticisms from groups on both the left and the right about the proposed regulations released last November – and even strengthen the rules.

“Secret money has become the scourge of the political system and needs to be eliminated regardless of the inconvenience to nonprofit groups, whatever their ideology,” the editorial board wrote.

“Republicans have blocked Congress from dealing with the problem, so now it is up to the I.R.S. to do its job.”

Under the proposed rules, 501(c)(4) groups – the organizations at the center of the IRS targeting controversy – would be barred from counting so-called “candidate-related political activity” toward their social welfare mission.

That would include advertisements either for or against candidates near an election. The rules also ask for guidance on how much political activity allowed to those tax-exempt groups.

The Times also says that chambers of commerce and unions should be subject to the same sort of restrictions, and dismissed arguments that the rules could hurt nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts.

GOP lawmakers have consistently noted that unions would be not face the proposed rules.

The proposed regulations have so far received more than 44,000 comments, with the end of the comment period still more than a week away.

Republicans are pushing to at least have the rules delayed, with a bill from House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) expected to hit the chamber floor soon.