Because nothing says “free speech” quite like some intimidation from the IRS.
(CNSNews.com) – A conservative advocacy group says it will not be intimidated by pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin’s office.
Move America Forward, a group that supports the U.S. military and wants to eject the United Nations from the United States, is currently running broadcast ads criticizing Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or mad regimes like Pol Pot’s.
“But these aren’t the faces of torturers, the ad says: “They’re the heroic men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. They’re our sons and daughters fighting for the cause of freedom around the world. Support our troops, at MoveAmericaForward.com.”
Durbin’s office is trying to silence Move America Forward, the group says, by hinting to an Illinois newspaper (the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake) that the Internal Revenue Service should audit Move America Forward.
Someone from Durbin’s office was quoted as telling the newspaper – in connection with Move America Forward — “Have you ever seen that H&R Block commercial where the guy leans in and says, ‘I see an audit’?”
Here’s the article referred to above from the Northwest Herald. Apparently the issues with the IRS surround Move America Forward’s application for status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Groups falling under that tax classification are prohibited from running political ads.
Of course, there’s an argument to be made for defining what a political ad is and is not. If Move America Forward’s ads don’t endorse a specific candidate can they be considered political advertising? Does public criticism of a federal politician, in the form of a televising commercial, fall under this definition?
I don’t think so. And in light of that, I think this move by Durbin is fairly thuggish.
Move America Forward is not a group I’m familiar with, but certainly they should be allowed to run advertising critical of a politician without having to suffer retaliation in the form of undue investigation into finances.
Rob Port is the owner and operator of Say Anything.