Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.
~ Salman Rushdie
Unions are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence elections in favor of Democratic candidates. They are being allowed to operate behind a cloak of financial secrecy by Hilda Solis. Obama is encouraging left-leaning Super Pacs to fundraise, something he said he was opposed to when the SCOTUS ruled it constitutional. However, Obama and his minions have different standards for anyone who disagrees with their politics.
It appears that the conservative Tea Parties are being targeted by the IRS. Twenty Tea Party groups have engaged the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) to defend them against what they say are First Amendment violations. At least 80 groups nationwide have been subjected to intrusive questionnaires which appear to violate their First Amendment rights.
The questionnaires were sent out to groups requesting 501(c)(4) nonprofit status. The questions have gone into the internal workings of the organizations such as how members are selected, what subject matter they will discuss, what candidates will speak at their meetings, credentials and resumes of board members, volunteer resumes, and so on.
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ said in a press release –
“This appears to be a coordinated attempt to intimidate Tea Party organizations by demanding information that is outside the scope of legitimate inquiry and violates the First Amendment. These organizations have followed the law and applied for tax exempt status for their activities as Americans have done for decades.”
Sekulow said the IRS has gone beyond the realm of rationality in seeking information about the internal workings of various organizations. In addition to inquiring about how members are selected, the questions, he says, delve into issues pertaining to the subjects members discuss, among other issues. In what Sekulow dubbs an “intimidation campaign,” he makes a comparison to similar actions that the IRS took against the NAACP in the 1950s.
Most of these Tea Party groups are not Super Pacs and barely stay afloat. Their biggest investments are in printing supplies. So what spurred this investigation?
On February 16th, seven Democratic senators sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. While the letter does not specifically mention conservative groups, it talks about 501(c)(4) groups and asks the IRS to investigate whether the nonprofit status is being used to fund political campaigns and advertising.
IRS rules state 501(c)(4)s are allowed to engage in political activities, so long as that is not the primary purpose of the group.
The seven signers of the letter are Sens. Chuck Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and Al Franken, all of whom have launched vicious verbal attacks against the Tea Party.
Bennet said –
“The shadowy attack ads we see every day should be brought into the light. The largest contributors should stand by the ads they’ve paid for, the voters should know who’s behind these ads, and these super PACs should not be allowed to abuse our tax code by masquerading as nonprofit charities.”
Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Orrin Hatch said –
“The White House and its congressional allies are talking out of both sides of their mouths by accepting unprecedented sums of big labor and rich liberal money. … Sending the IRS on a politically motivated witch hunt is simply unacceptable and could have a chilling impact on the constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
Another letter, posted on Sen. Schumer’s site, was written on March 12th which demands the following –
Senators Seek To End Tax Code Abuse By Political Groups Masquerading As ‘Social Welfare Organizations’
In Letter to IRS, Lawmakers Say Firm Limit Should Be Set on Percentage of Nonprofits’ Spending That Can Be Devoted To Political Activities
Reforms Also Urged To Prevent Political Donors From Claiming Tax Deduction For Their Contributions
The Washington Post reports that the Senate GOP has told the IRS to stay out of politics and not conduct unfair investigations.
Polls, if they can be trusted, show that 7 out of 10 Americans would like to see Super Pacs eliminated.
Democrat, Peter Welch, has stated that he wants Republican Karl Rove’s Super Pac investigated. He has called on Obama to fill 5 out of 6 FEC (Federal Elections Commission) seats during the recess for no other reason but to pollute the FEC and its investigations. He and his buddies clearly want the FEC to shut down conservative Super Pacs. Neither he nor his Democratic buddies appear to see this as unconstitutional and un-American as they attempt to eliminate the rights of those who disagree. Read here: Commons News
Since the Democrats didn’t win the Citizens United case, which allows for corporate personhood, the Democrats are going after it in a different way. They have not asked for investigations of Obama’s Super Pacs nor have they asked for transparency or investigations of unions who support the Democrats.
Obama’s Super Pac is okay according to Bill Burton who said they had no choice since the Supreme Court decision. Maybe the Democratic Super Pacs need to be investigated?