Congress Wants You to Shut Up!

Your Congressman is sick of you. He’s sick of your petitions. He’s sick of your phone calls. He’s sick of your opinions. In fact, the only things he isn’t sick of are your votes and your tax dollars.

In an effort to silence the many thousands of non-profit citizen groups across the nation, Rep. Amory Houghton (R-NY) has introduced the “Full and Fair Political Disclosure Act of 2000” (H.R. 4717). This bill would force all 501c(4), ‘c(5) and ‘c(6) organizations to hand over their members’ names and addresses to the IRS. It would also force groups like APC to report everything from our petition drives to our action alerts to the IRS. This entirely unconstitutional monster is being billed as “campaign finance reform” despite the fact that none of the previously mentioned organizations have anything to do with either campaigns or their financing.

H.R. 4717 would subject non-profit conservative groups to endless public scrutiny from the IRS. The effect of the bill is to tie up these organizations in audits and cheap litigation, in order to distract them from their lobby efforts and eventually choke them out of existence. It is important to note that many conservative groups are 501c(4) organizations and are not eligible to receive tax deductible contributions from the public. On the other hand, many liberal groups are classified as 501c(3) organizations and are permitted to spend up to $1 million a year in direct lobbying, organize voter education campaigns, and receive tax-deductible contributions. H.R. 4717 applies only to 501c(4) organizations, NOT 501c(3) groups. For example, H.R. 4717 would impose these intrusive regulations on the National Right to Life Committee, but not Planned Parenthood.

We’ve all seen the extreme potential for IRS abuse played out by our current president. He’s used the IRS as a political tool to audit, humiliate and denigrate his political opponents. Imagine what he could do with the donor files of every single conservative 501c(4) in the nation? The thought is frightening.

Rep. Houghton met with House Majority Whip Tom DeLay to make sure the Republican leadership wouldn’t fight this dangerous bill. And Rep. DeLay appears ready to stand by and watch while your freedom to speak out is taken away. Rep. Houghton’s bill has already moved out of the Ways and Means Committee and an immediate vote is pending! You can’t let this bill destroy your freedom to speak out and hand your private information over to the IRS.

ACTION TO TAKE

1. Call Rep. Bill Archer—Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121) Tell him not to let this dangerous bill out of his committee. It will destroy your Constitutional right to speak out.

2. Call House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (Majority Whip Office 202-225-0197). Tell him to fight against this dangerous attempt to silence those who support constitutional rights.

3. Call your Congressman (use the Capitol Switchboard number) Tell him to oppose the “Full and Fair Political Disclosure Act of 2000” (H.R. 4717).

Important: Call early and often. Your repeated calls are vital.

Don’t let Congress silence you!

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.