Published on Apr 4, 2014
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced at the National Press Club on Tuesday, that the IRS has postponed a proposed rule change that would have banned all political speech in 501(c)(4) groups. The IRS received more than 150,000 citizen comments, far more than on any previous proposed rule change. It is interesting to note that Koskinen’s announcement consisted of about three paragraphs of an hour-long speech. This clip contains the portion of Commissioner Koskinen’s speech that deals with this issue.
The complete press release from Senator Cruz:
Sen. Cruz: Americans Are Making DC Listen
IRS announces record number of comments for anti-speech regulation
April 3, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC -– U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, released the following statement regarding IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s remarks at the National Press Club on Tuesday.
“When Americans speak up, it makes a difference,” said Sen. Cruz. “A record number of Americans spoke out against a regulation being considered by the IRS to stifle free speech of 501(c)(4) political groups. As a result, it is unlikely those rules will be implemented this year. This is a substantial victory for the grassroots and should serve as motivation to continue pressuring the IRS to drop the rule completely.”
Specifically, Koskinen said:
Another recommendation by the IG was that the Treasury Department and the IRS should provide clearer guidance on how to assess the permissibility of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations’ activities. So last November, Treasury and the IRS issued proposed regulations that are designed to clarify the extent to which a 501(c)(4) organization can engage in political activity without endangering its tax-exempt status.
While I was not involved in the issuance of this draft proposal, because it happened before I was confirmed as Commissioner, I believe it is extremely important to make this area of regulation as clear as possible. Not only does that help the IRS properly enforce the law, but clearer regulations will also give a better roadmap to applicants, and will help those that already have 501(c)(4) status properly administer their organizations without unnecessary fears of losing their tax-exempt status.
During the comment period, which ended in February, we received more than 150,000 comments. That’s a record for an IRS rulemaking comment period. In fact, if you take all the comments on all Treasury and IRS draft proposals over the last seven years and double that number, you come close to the number of comments we are now beginning to review and analyze. It’s going to take us a while to sort through all those comments, hold a public hearing, possibly repropose a draft regulation and get more public comments. This means that it is unlikely we will be able to complete this process before the end of the year (Bold emphasis, mine – A.D.B.).
The complete video of his remarks is available here. The relevant portion of the clip may be found at 16:50: