The Daily Caller reports,
The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules "off-plan," meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.
The proposed rules would impose stricter standards on what qualifies as political activity which would ultimately limit the practices of a number of non-profit groups.
Treasury official Ruth Madrigal wrote in a June 14, 2012 e-mail to Lerner and others obtained by Ways and Means and provided to The Daily Caller, “Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off -plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting.”
The proposed new rules would prohibit activities that were once acceptable for nonprofit groups and redefine them as “candidate-related political activity.” Some of the activities would include holding voter registration drives and publishing voter guides.
Likewise, grants and donations provided by 501(c)(4) organizations to other non-profits would be subjected to new record-keeping rules and would be under greater scrutiny in order to ensure that the money will not be involved in “political activity” as newly defined.
New IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has claimed that the proposed new rules were an effort to “put to rest all of the issues surrounding applications for tax-exempt status,” but Madrigal’s e-mail to Lerner proves that those regulations were being drafted before the IRS scandal came to light, at a time when the IRS did not have a need to clarify anything.
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