Former FEC Chairman Bradley A. Smith is now chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, which filed comments criticizing the proposed rules. Smith said the IRS is using the veneer of clarity to make life difficult for political activists.
“Essentially, the IRS wants to change and vastly expand the definition of what qualifies as political activity, to include things like nonpartisan voter registration or talking about issues. 501 (c)4 (status) limits groups that are engaged in candidate races. They want it to include talk about the budget or offshore oil drilling or green energy or whatever it might be,” Smith said.
“By expanding greatly the definition of political activity, that will bring a number of groups out of (c)4 and into political committee status, where they have much more reporting burdens, and they have to publicly disclose who their donors are, which the Supreme Court has normally said groups don’t have to do.”