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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch today cosponsored the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act. The bill has been introduced by Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), and is cosponsored by 36 additional senators.

The bill would protect the free-speech rights of 501(c)(4) groups, organizations designated as promoting social welfare, and the bill would prohibit for one year the finalization of a proposed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation that would significantly limit the advocacy and educational activities of these groups. The bill would also prevent additional targeting of 501(c)(4) organizations by restoring the IRS 501(c)(4) standards and definitions that were in place before the start of the agency’s targeting of conservative groups in 2010.  

“I remain deeply disturbed that the IRS has made it a practice to give greater scrutiny to conservative non-profit groups,” said Risch.  “Since this revelation, the Department of Treasury has proposed a new IRS regulation that would actually validate the singling out of these organizations. This legislation will ensure that Americans’ constitutional right to free speech is protected from targeted IRS regulations.”

The administration has already faced harsh criticism for earlier attempts by the IRS to target these same organizations. On May 14, 2013, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration released a report finding that the IRS had inappropriately targeted and applied excessive scrutiny to the applications of conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.