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Feb 21

Taxing the First Amendment: Using the IRS to Censor Speech?

The Internal Revenue Service is being investigated over claims that it denied tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code to Tea Party and other conservative organizations because of their political views and beliefs. Lawsuits are pending over the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive donor and tax information by the IRS. On Nov. 29, 2013, the IRS issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would broadly widen the definition of “candidate-related political activity” for 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations, restricting the ability of groups like the NRA and the Sierra Club to engage in political advocacy. Does this proposed regulation violate the First Amendment rights of nonprofits and their members? What is the status of the litigation and the investigations being conducted by Congress and the Justice Department? Are the IRS scandal and the current regulatory proposal a coordinated effort to stifle criticism of the government? Two campaign finance experts, including a lawyer representing conservative organizations and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, along with two journalists who have extensively covered the IRS scandal, will discuss these issues. The panel will be moderated by a former FEC commissioner.

More About the Speakers

Cleta Mitchell
Partner, Foley & Lardner

Bradley A. Smith
Chairman, Center for Competitive Politics

Eliana Johnson
Reporter, National Review

Kimberley Strassel
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Hosted By

Hans A. von Spakovsky Hans A. von Spakovsky

Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow Read More