The Latest IRS Power Grab

by - December 17, 2013

This is not about taxes, so what is it really about? What the left wants is the disclosure of private information about conservative donors. In cases involving unions, the NAACP and other civil-rights organizations in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, the Supreme Court made clear that people have a right to engage in anonymous political activity. In the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case, however, the court carved out a narrow exception, allowing the government to compel the disclosure of information about donors to groups controlled by political candidates and parties, or that have the primary purpose of engaging in political campaigns. But the court also defined political activity narrowly, to include only the express advocacy for the election or defeat of a candidate. The ruling specifically did not include the discussion of candidates and issues as a political-campaign activity. None of this was perceived as a major problem so long as the 501(c)(4) category was dominated by the political left. Beginning in the 1990s, however, and especially since 2010, organizations that were more conservative began using the 501(c)(4) category to engage in public education as well as political activity, thus challenging liberal dominance in nonprofit advocacy.

Bradley A. Smith: The Latest IRS Power Grab -

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