This morning’s USA Today story highlighting the latest round of IRS document leaks was particularly intriguing. It begins:
Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about “anti-Obama rhetoric,” inflammatory language and “emotional” statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.
The internal 2011 documents, obtained by USA TODAY, list 162 groups by name, with comments by Internal Revenue Service lawyers in Washington raising issues about their political, lobbying and advocacy activities. In 21 cases, those activities were characterized as “propaganda.”
Considering that 33 groups that we represent at the ACLJ (I’m one of the attorneys on our pending lawsuit on behalf of 41 conservative groups) were discussed in the documents, including several accused of spreading “propaganda,” I thought I’d take a quick look at the left-wing world of 501(c)(4) advocacy to see how one of the nation’s largest and most-established (c)(4)’s is avoiding propaganda or “inflammatory” rhetoric.
My first stop? MoveOn.org. Featured prominently on their home page was this non-emotional, non-inflammatory, highly-education appeal to “Skip Ender’s Game: Don’t Give the Bigot a Buck,” including a petition featuring this scholarly text:
“Ender’s Game” author Orson Scott Card is a bigot who wants to see the destruction of LGBT marriage equality and will use his earnings from the movie “Ender’s Game” to oppose gay rights. Pledge to skip “Ender’s Game” and ensure that your entertainment dollars don’t support homophobia.
Next, I discovered that MoveOn members are asking Yelp to drop out of ALEC. Of course, to accomplish this mission, these members dressed in all their Sunday best:
Nothing but “education” going on there, and it’s surely much more elevated discourse than the conservative “general advocacy” or “issue advocacy” or “negative Obama commentary” highlighted by the IRS during its exacting scrutiny of the Tea Party.
I highlight these gems from MoveOn not because MoveOn is doing anything legally wrong – indeed, nothing about these petitions or its anti-Yelp campaign or anything else I could see on its website was inconsistent with robust 501(c)(4) issue advocacy – but instead to highlight the absurdity of the IRS’s obsession with tea-party activism.
There was nothing new about the alleged “flood” of tea-party applications – other than the conservative movement finally beginning to catch up to the Left. But in today’s partisan IRS, that fact alone was enough to warrant a years-long, unconstitutional campaign of delay, intrusion, and denial.
It’s taken years, but IRS approvals are still slowly—very slowly—rolling in. The ACLJ first sounded the alarm against the Obama Administration’s unlawful targeting of grassroots conservative groups in the spring of 2012. It was not until the following year, in May of 2013, when Lois Lerner admitted...
This week in federal court in Philadelphia, the American Center for Law and Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of a pediatrician who was fired after requesting a religious accommodation of her beliefs against dispensing contraceptives – including the morning-after pill – to her pediatrics patients.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He is author of the New York Times Bestseller, Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore. He hosts “Jay Sekulow Live” – a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations...
A new Inspector General (IG) report exposes yet more abuse and cover-up at the IRS. As the Washington Examiner reports : A review of the Internal Revenue Service's compliance with the Freedom of Information Act found the agency intentionally withheld or failed to "adequately search" for requested...