July 17, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

IRS targeting amendment designed to protect free speech

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The proposed Schumer-Manchin $433 billion spending extravaganza includes $46 billion for the IRS, which the Wall Street Journal says will be used to audit the middle class.  And IRS staff will be free to target groups for exercising free speech unless an amendment proposed by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) is added.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)

A statement from Braun’s office says, “For 27 months, from February 2010 until May 2012, the IRS systematically targeted conservative tax-exempt applicants for additional scrutiny and delay. As prominent Democratic politicians and the media condemned conservative non-profit groups, the IRS sought to rein in the groups’ political speech.”

The Braun Amendment would insert the traditional IRS targeting rider most recently included in the FY 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill (P.L. 117-103) that prohibits the IRS from targeting citizens for exercising their free speech rights.

Braun’s office says Congressional Democrats have made multiple attempts during this congress to enhance the ability of the agency to scrutinize groups it does not favor.  For example, H.R. 1, as passed by the House on March 3, 2021, repeals the IRS’s final rule, promulgated by the Trump Administration in May 2020, that is specifically designed to protect C4 organizations. H.R. 1/S. 1, as introduced, also repeals an existing appropriations rider to ensure the IRS upholds its rules and guidance.

Fox News reports that a coalition of House Democrats this week wrote Treasury Secretary Yellen and IRS Commissioner Rettig to demand that the IRS target the tax status of the Family Research Council, as well as other political advocacy organizations who have obtained church status.

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