Mathew Staver, founder and chief counsel of Liberty Counsel, told WND that after the agency was caught "intentionally targeting conservative groups in the prior two elections, now the president wants his IRS to totally silence the voices of his political adversaries.”
According to Staver, the new rules are “designed to silence and greatly restrict the activities of Liberty Counsel Action and other 501 (c) 4 nonprofit organizations during the upcoming election year.”
The new rules were announced in November, but haven't received much attention, Staver said, because the so-called "mainstream media" was pre-occupied with other issues like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to go nuclear on judicial appointments and the flap over Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson.
Staver told WND he believes the new rules constitute a “serious threat to freedom of speech.”
“This literally silences people of faith and those who have the right to be able to express themselves in the marketplace of political ideas,” he explained. “This proposed regulation not only will silence 501 (c) 4 [groups], which are designed so that they can engage in social and issue advocacy speech, it also silences people who are associated with [the groups].”
The new rules would also impose "blackout" periods where no statements are allowed at all on certain issues.
The rules also prohibit using words like “oppose,” “vote,” “support,” “defeat” and “reject,” he said.
Staver also said he believes the administration was purposefully trying to silence conservative voices during the 2012 election.
“This underscores, I think, the fact that when the IRS under the Obama administration was targeting organizations of a conservative [view], it wasn’t by accident. They were intentionally trying to shut down political debate in the 2012 election," he added.
The IRS doesn't just want to ban speech, Staver said.
The agency also wants to ban voter registration drives, nonpartisan “get-out-the-vote” efforts and voter guides outlining how incumbents voted on particular bills, Staver added.
“Further, any member of the Liberty Counsel Action team will be banned from speaking or messaging on incumbents, legislation, and/or voting records – or to speak on the nominations of judges or political nominees being considered by the Senate. This also includes state and local politicians,” he said.
Worse yet, the new rules would exempt liberal lobbying groups like labor unions.
“This is just the beginning of ‘selective enforcement,’” Staver’s organization said. “Most of the exempted organizations are liberal and in the back pocket of the Democrat party – and vice-versa. Most key players in the liberal ‘progressive’ bloc will not be silenced or restricted by these new regulations.”
Moreover, Staver said, while the new rules severely limit Obama's critics, no limits on liberal groups are provided.
“If the president gives a speech, the media will cover it. … But if a group of citizens wants to pool their resources to express an opposing viewpoint before an election, that group can lose its tax-exempt status,” he said.
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