In the News: Washington Post (LTE): The IRS Should Not be the Speech Police

Washington Post (LTE): The IRS Should Not be the Speech Police

By Luke Wachob

In her May 21 op-ed column, “Illuminating dark money,” Ruth Marcus ignored perhaps the most important question surrounding recent Internal Revenue Service efforts to restrict the activities of social welfare organizations: Should we regulate political speech through an independent, bipartisan agency with expertise in First Amendment law — the Federal Election Commission — or through a tax collection agency under the control of the president?

The tea-party-targeting scandal that’s still being investigated should be proof enough that the IRS is fundamentally ill-equipped to police political speech. The service’s national taxpayer advocate, Nina Olson, even wrote in June in a report to Congress, “It may be advisable to separate political determinations from the function of revenue collection.”

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