Left divided on IRS rule changes

by Robert Maynard

The right is already wary of the threat that the IRS poses to their liberty.  Now it seems that a portion of the left has a beef with the IRS too.  The issue is the IRS rule changes, which has the left divided, as this National Review article points out:

The proposed Internal Revenue Service regulations governing political activity by nonprofits that have united the Right in opposition are now fracturing the Left.

While Senate Republicans, following the lead of their House colleagues, are backing a bill to delay the rules for a year, and the protests of right-leaning nonprofit groups, big and small, are reaching fever pitch, Democratic politicians who are urging the IRS to move forward with the regulations have found themselves at odds with some of their largest constituencies, chief among them the country’s labor unions.

The proposed changes, which were unveiled in late November, would classify much of the day-to-day activity of 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups, including voter education and registration, as political, thereby endangering their tax-exempt status. They would also prohibit public communication 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election that identifies a political candidate — that is, nearly every advertisement aired by groups such as the conservative Americans for Prosperity or the liberal League of Conservation Voters — during the period when they are most effective.

The proposed regulations have a host of left-leaning groups worried that the 501(c)(4) rules could serve as a template for regulations governing 501(c)(5) nonprofits (unions) and 501(c)(6) groups (trade associations), and they are speaking out. Service Employees International Union associate general counsel John Sullivan told the Washington Post that the proposed rules “would be totally inappropriate for unions” because they are “broadly phrased and categorical,” and that they would “seriously affect [unions’] ability to function.”