Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rep. Robert Hurt Votes to Protect Organizations from Being Targeted by the IRS for Political Beliefs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, which would prohibit the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from finalizing regulations that seek to curb the speech of groups in a politically-motivated fashion. 


"I am pleased the House passed this important measure today as a part of Stop Government Abuse Week," said Hurt.  "The regulations proposed by the IRS appear to single out organizations critical of the Administration in a way similar to the targeting activities in which the IRS engaged in May 2013.  The attempts by the IRS to intentionally silence law-abiding groups for political reasons is appalling, and it is a blatant abuse of power. 


"The IRS has proven its incapability of carrying out its most straightforward duties in recent months by admitting that it targeted political opponents and limited free speech.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that this most basic right of the American people, no matter their political beliefs, is protected."


The IRS has proposed a new rule that will restrict the First Amendment rights of 501(c)(4) organizations.  Under current regulations, organizations are eligible for tax exemptions under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code if they are primarily engaged in promoting social welfare.  Non-partisan voter registration efforts and candidate forums close to an election are not considered political intervention; however, they would be redefined as such under the proposed rules in an effort to strip these groups of their tax-exempt status and stifle their free speech largely because they are critical of the Obama Administration, as investigations by the House Ways and Means Committee have uncovered.