Richard Nixon tried to cover up a burglary, and, because of his paranoia, used governmental agencies to gather information on his political foes. Then he used the power of government to attack
people who opposed him.
For those under 45 years of age, the Nixon Articles of Impeachment were covered in a paragraph or two in their 500-page school history book. But to us older Americans, it was a big deal—an aberration that demanded action by Congress—and act they did. This event became known as the “Watergate Hearings”, named after Article 1 of that
Less well known is Article 2 subsection 1 of that document which said of Richard Nixon, “He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”—in effect, using the IRS as a political weapon to attack opponents.
Jump ahead forty years. Lois Lerner, a high ranking IRS official in the spring of 2013 admitted the IRS had targeted conservative groups who were seeking a 501( c)(3) or ( c)(4) tax exempt status. By summer, Lerner was on paid leave, the head of the IRS was retired a few weeks before his planned retirement and President Obama was saying that this whole c3/c4 issue was ambiguous and needed clarification. Seven months later, the Albuquerque Tea Party still awaits an adjudication (having waited over four years.)
By the fall of 2013, the IRS had followed up on Obama’s request for “clarification” and rewritten the regulations governing 501 ( c) (4) entities. The IRS re-labeled voter information activities of non-profits as “candidate-related political activities”—or CRPAs for short (though CRAP would fit the name of the regulation better). Under these new regulations, the IRS will tax most everything a non-profit organization does that even hints of politics if the action occurs within 30 days of a primary race or within 60 days of a general election. Donations made during those periods would be treated 100% as campaign contributions and be taxed.
Also restricted would be voter registration drives, candidate forums and debates, voter guides, voting record listings of incumbents and public statements made by officers and leaders of ( c) (4)s which reference incumbents or candidates. This is outright suppression and removes Freedom of Speech rights from those who oppose Obama. The law also affects liberal non-profits, however all too often in the past five years, we have seen our President issue exemptions to his supporters.
This new regulation must go through a comment period. Congress can block the regulation if enough people oppose it in the next ten days. You can make your thoughts on this issue known by going to the federal website, www.regulations.gov and access docket “IRS Reg-134417-13”. Click on the “Comment Now!” button and type out your opinion. What Nixon did in using the IRS as a weapon was absolutely
wrong. What Obama and the IRS are doing today is equally wrong! People who respect the rule of law and honor freedom of speech, regardless of party, should stand together to defend our country and its Constitution. Make the call! Light up your computers New Mexico.
Rick Harbaugh, President
Albuquerque Tea Party