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Politix: The IRS Power Grab

For a former constitutional law professor, President Obama sure likes to bludgeon our sacred First Amendment every chance he gets. He also prefers unilateral rule changes by the executive branch to going through our pesky legislative process.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court granting cert to review a likely First Amendment religious freedom violation in Obamacare’s contraception mandate, the Obama administration is at it again, this time attacking political speech. The IRS proposed a new set of rules shortly before Thanksgiving, seeking to stifle the amount of political speech certain non-profit groups can engage in without losing their tax-exempt status.

Here’s how the system currently works: for a group to qualify for 501(c)(4) tax status, it must be organized for the purpose of “social welfare.” There are no hard and fast rules on how much political activity a 501(c)(4) can engage in; however, the rule of thumb is that as long as an organization spends less than half of its total spending on politics, it will not endanger its 501(c)(4) status.

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