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Mullin Says IRS Has No Business Restricting Oklahomans’ First Amendment Rights

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to make sure the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not target or discriminate against Oklahomans who exercise their First Amendment Rights.  

“Constitutional rights can’t be overruled by federal agencies that want to push the president’s agenda,” said Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02). “The fact that we even had to write this bill is ridiculous, but the past has shown us that religious and non-profit groups need protection from the IRS’ illegal targeting.”

In May 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. The applications of groups that advocated for education about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, or had words like “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their names received extra scrutiny.

Several months later, the IRS proposed a regulation that would have limited the free speech of tax-exempt groups. The proposed regulation would have restricted these groups’ participation in political activity. Under the regulation, providing political education materials, such as voter guides, would have been illegal. The IRS withdrew the proposed regulation after it received widespread negative responses during the public comment period for the rule.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 4903, a bill to prohibit the IRS from using funds to target citizens of the United States for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

“The IRS has no business restricting our Constitutional rights,” Mullin added. “There’s no way I am going to let the IRS restrict Oklahomans’ rights to exercise their freedom of speech or freedom of religion.”

H.R. 4903 will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

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