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Letter to the editorL Oppose IRS free speech restrictions

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 12:01 am

The Internal Revenue Service recently proposed new regulations that will stifle political speech and make it more difficult for citizen-led groups and associations to effectively function.

These new rules will codify the scandalous and unethical targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) organizations that have increasingly occurred over the last three to four years. The proposed rules are a blatant attempt to legalize the illegal discrimination and oppression of American citizens’ right to freedom of speech — particularly political speech — that is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

These new rules make it illegal for a 501(c)(4) organization to participate in voter registration activities, host forums or debates with our representatives in Washington, publish voter guides and voting records and even mention the names of elected officials in public statements. Consequently, American citizens will literally be punished for discussing and educating others about the platforms of their elected representatives.

These are the rules of despots who have something to hide, who want to turn citizens into subjects. These rules are wholly inappropriate for a free people with a constitutionally limited government.

I will be contacting my congressman, Marlin Stutzman, Sen. Dan Coats and Sen. Joe Donnelly and will be urging them to oppose these outrageous rules. I encourage my fellow citizens to do the same.

The comment period for these rules ends on Feb. 27. All Americans — regardless of their political affiliations — should take this opportunity to let the IRS know that these proposed regulations are completely unacceptable.

By contacting www.teaparty, you can voice your concerns about the IRS’s onerous restrictions on free speech.

Emery McClendon, Indiana state coordinator, Tea Party Patriots