IRS’ Targeting of Liberal Groups Shows Further Need to Enact Bright Line Rules on Political Activity

Oct. 5, 2017

IRS’ Targeting of Liberal Groups Shows Further Need to Enact Bright Line Rules on Political Activity

Statement of Craig Holman, Ph.D., Government Affairs Lobbyist, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

News that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may have also subjected dozens of liberal-leaning organizations to tougher scrutiny when they sought tax-exempt status is further evidence that the rules around nonprofit political activity need to be clarified. Liberal and conservative groups seem to have been flagged for scrutiny over their names or policy positions, and some of the targeted organizations waited for years for the IRS to decide on their tax-exempt status.

Liberal and conservative nonprofit groups alike need objective standards, like those outlined by the Bright Lines Project, to determine what is and is not permissible political activity for tax exempt organizations. The discretion of the IRS in making this determination needs to be minimized by clear and specific standards written into the tax code and regulations. This is what the Bright Lines Project offers.

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