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    Coalition Letter: 60 CONSERVATIVE AND FREE MARKET GROUPS SUPPORT H.R. 3865

    FreedomWorks and 59 other major conservative and free market groups have signed onto the following coalition letter by American Commitment, urging Congress to pass the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, H.R. 3865.

    February 25, 2014

    Dear Members of Congress:

    We urge you to vote yes on H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014.

    The IRS confessed to targeting conservative groups in a stunning abuse of power. Now the IRS proposes a draconian rule limiting the lawful activities of these same groups and all others organized under Section 501(c)(4).

    The proposed rule would restrict the free speech rights of 501(c)(4) groups by arbitrarily deeming political a wide variety of activities to be in the newly-created category of “Candidate-Related Political Activity,” which would include voter registration drives, candidate debates, voter guides, voting records and key votes. It would restrict any criticism of an incumbent federal, state, or local politician within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election and effectively require groups to remove any reference to politicians from their websites during these windows. It even distorts the definition of "candidate" to include appointees, so groups weighing in on executive or judicial nominations would be restricted.

    As the American Civil Liberties Union commented to the IRS:

    Most social welfare organizations - on both the left and right — serve exactly that function as they see it, the promotion of social welfare and community good. Based on their respective visions, they advocate for the powerless and the voiceless. They promote fiscal responsibility and good government. They serve as a check on government overreach, or as a cheerleader for sound public policy.

    In many of these functions, social welfare organizations praise or criticize candidates for public office on the issues and they should be able to do so freely, without fear of losing or being denied tax-exempt status, even if doing so could influence a citizen’s vote. Such advocacy is at the heart of our representative democracy. To the extent it influences voting, it does so by promoting an informed citizenry.

    The rule proceeds from the false assumption that political engagement and discussion of public policy issues and the merits of nominees who implement them cannot be part and parcel of a social welfare mission. This is not what the law requires and it is inconsistent with longstanding historical practice and understanding.

    While Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code specifically bars those organizations from engaging in political activity, no such prohibition exists in Section 501(c)(4). There is therefore no statutory basis for imposing the restrictions the IRS proposes.

    The apparent rush from the IRS to implement this ill-considered rule in the middle of the current tax year must be stopped.

    H.R. 3865 is a modest measure that would simply prohibit the IRS from finalizing the rule this year, giving it adequate time to consider all of the practical, statutory, and constitutional criticisms of its proposal – as well as giving investigators time to complete their investigations into the targeting scandal before deciding what, if any, legal reforms are appropriate.

    We therefore urge you to vote YES on H.R. 3865.

    Sincerely, Jim Martin Chairman 60 Plus Association

    Melissa Ortiz Founder/Principal Able Americans

    Phil Kerpen President American Commitment

    Dan Schneider Executive Director American Conservative Union

    Thomas Pyle President American Energy Alliance

    Gary L. Bauer President American Values

    Brent Gardner Director of Federal Affairs Americans for Prosperity

    Grover Norquist President Americans for Tax Reform

    John Tate President Campaign for Liberty

    Sean Noble President Center to Protect Patient Rights

    Jeffrey Mazzella President Center for Individual Freedom

    Matt Patterson Executive Director Center for Worker Freedom

    Elaine Donnelly President Center for Military Readiness

    Chris Chocola President Club for Growth

    Gary Aldrich President and Chairman of the Board CNP Action, Inc.

    Penny Nance President and CEO Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee

    Peter J. Thomas Chairman The Conservative Caucus

    Richard Viguerie Chairman ConservativeHQ.com

    Mattie Duppler Executive Director Cost of Government Center

    Thomas A. Schatz President Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

    Brian Baker President Ending Spending

    Ralph Reed Chairman Faith & Freedom Coalition

    Larry Cirignano President Faithful Catholic Citizens

    Dick Patten President Family Business Defense Council

    Sandy Rios Vice President Family Pac Federal

    David Christensen VP of Government Affairs Family Research Council

    David Bozell Executive Director ForAmerica

    James S. Gilmore III President Free Congress Action

    Coley Jackson President Freedom Action

    Matt Kibbe President FreedomWorks

    George Landrith President Frontiers of Freedom

    Larry Pratt Executive Director Gun Owners of America

    Michael Needham Chief Executive Officer Heritage Action

    Mario H. Lopez President Hispanic Leadership Fund

    Michael Smith, Esq. President Home School Legal Defense Association

    Heather R. Higgins President Independent Women’s Voice

    Andrew Langer President Institute for Liberty

    Seton Motley President Less Government

    Colin A. Hanna President Let Freedom Ring

    Mathew Staver Chairman Liberty Counsel Action

    Tom McClusky VP of Government Affairs March for Life

    Dee Hodges President Maryland Taxpayers Association

    Lew Uhler President National Tax Limitation Committee

    Brandon Arnold VP of Government Affairs National Taxpayers Union

    Roy Beck President NumbersUSA

    Paul Caprio Director Patriotic Veterans

    Dave Wallace, II Founder Restore America's Mission

    Ken Hoagland Chairman Restore America's Voice

    Lawrence A. Hunter President Social Security Institute

    David Williams President Taxpayers Protection Alliance

    Amy Kremer Chairman Tea Party Express

    Judson Phillips President Tea Party Nation

    Jennifer Martin President & Co-Founder Tea Party Patriots

    Todd Cefaratti Founder TheTeaParty.Net

    C. Preston Noell III President Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

    Andrea Lafferty President Traditional Values Coalition

    Carl Bearden Executive Director United for Missouri

    Susan Carleson Chairman/President Welfare Reform Action Fund

    Morton Blackwell Chairman The Weyrich Lunch

    Ron Robinson President Young America's Foundation