This week the IRS was the place to be in Washington, but not because it was suddenly popular. Thursday was tax agency’s deadline for comment on its proposal to clip the free speech rights of 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups, and much of America was screaming its disapproval. By the time the comment period closed, the rule had generated more than 100,000 individual responses from across the political spectrum, more than 10 times as many as the regulatory runner-up.
Notable among the comments is one filed by eight former FEC commissioners, including Journal contributors Bradley Smith and Hans von Spakovsky, who note that the rule would usurp the campaign-finance regulation created by Congress and handled by the Federal Election Commission. The shift would “needlessly embroil the IRS in an area in which the Service lacks both the professional expertise and the structure and safeguards” to give voters confidence that the regulators aren’t targeting them selectively, they write.