Family Research Council

May 27, 2014 - Tuesday

Scrambled Regs Pushed off by IRS

The Obama administration never met a rule it didn't want to postpone. But last week, the President finally delayed something we can all agree with. Leading up to the midterm elections, most people probably mistook the IRS as the Democrats' party headquarters. From stripping conservatives' tax-exempt status to disproportionately auditing tea party donors, the tax agency has been the President's political base camp.

Early this year, the Wall Street Journal stumbled on the next phase of Republican targeting: a change to the regulations governing 501(c)(4) lobbying groups like FRC Action. "With one little IRS rule, [the White House] can shut up hundreds of groups that post a direct threat by restricting their ability to speak freely in an election season..." Under the proposal, the IRS would subject lobbying groups like FRC Action to taxation and reporting on everyday activities like: grassroots lobbying, candidate forums, candidate debates, voter registration, voter guides, and general issue advocacy.

Obviously, the goal is to drive these groups out of business by making it too difficult to operate. Movements like the Tea Party, which was built on the backs of 501(c)(4)s, would be forced to transition into PACs (Political Action Committees), where all donors are reported. This gives the Left the opportunity to harass and intimidate donors to conservative organizations until there is no opposition to their radical policies. The effect is an information blackout, where candidates won't be held as accountable for their votes on unpopular policies like ObamaCare.

Liberals will do anything to keep their IRS intimidation factory afloat -- but even they couldn't withstand the public outcry the proposed change sparked. The IRS announced last Thursday that it would kick the can down the road until after the 2014 elections -- in part because of the "volume of substantive input" from every day Americans. Congressman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced a bill to block the rules from taking effect, just shook his head that the IRS introduced the plan in the first place. "This proposed rule was wrong from the start," he said. "Hopefully, the White House will think twice before ever trying to go down this path again."

If it does, it will have plenty of mail to read. According to government officials, the Treasury Department could barely contain the complaints, shattering records for the numbers of public comments received -- more than 150,000. And while no victory is permanent in this administration, we congratulate the thousands of you who made your voices heard. Even the IRS conceded that scrapping these plans was a direct result of the earful it got from everyday Americans. As discouraging as the headlines can be, your involvement is not without effect. When enough people speak out, there's no limit to the impact we can have -- together!

New Life on Death Row

Welcoming a new baby into the world is usually cause for celebration -- but for Meriam Ibrahim, the arrival of her tiny daughter filled the family with even more fear and uncertainty. Meriam, already mom to a 20-month-year-old son named Martin, has been shackled to a cell in Omdurman prison on the outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan for months, desperately hoping the U.S. government would intervene.

Her husband, an American citizen -- along with both children -- has plead for Meriam's release from the grip of a ruthless Islamic regime, who jailed the 27-year-old for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Now, subjected to the worst of conditions, Meriam's cries seem to have fallen on deaf ears in her children's homeland thousands of miles away. The prison where she and her two children now suffer are shocking by anyone's standards.

Back in 2007, Human Rights Watch was appalled by the "chronic overcrowding, lack of sanitation, diseases, and death." Most inmates receive one meal a day -- if they're lucky -- in squalid rooms infested by mosquitos. As if giving birth there weren't horrifying enough, Meriam's husband, who traveled from New England to Sudan to see her, has been denied access since his daughter was born. Meanwhile, the Obama administration -- which had more than enough time to throw a party in honor of homosexual activist Harvey Milk -- hasn't had a spare second to demand the freedom of two of America's youngest citizens.

Just two months after relaxing the rules on asylum seekers with "loose ties" to terrorists, the White House is content to leave two U.S. children in the custody of third-world radicals. Making matters worse, the arrival of the Ibrahims' little girl also resets the clock on Meriam's execution, which the Sudanese government will order as soon as the child is weaned. If the hearts of the American people aren't sympathetic to a toddler and newborn locked and brutalized behind bars, then our hearts have been hardened beyond hope.

These innocent children, whose only crime is being born to Christian parents, are at risk for nothing they have done. Yet still, the Obama administration does nothing. Are we now at a point, as a nation, that Islamic thugs can grab Americans and throw them in jail and our government simply says it's too complicated to intervene? We're working with our friends on Capitol Hill to force the Obama administration to take appropriate actions to defend American citizens and their mother, Meriam.

In Houston, You CAN Fight City Hall

Can five words change the outcome of a radical measure in Houston? Locals hope so. When openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker said, "This debate is about me," she may have been the undoing of the very ordinance she's fighting for. Under the watchful gaze of the rest of the country, America's fourth largest city has been locked in a vicious debate over an anti-freedom, anti-safety, anti-Christian proposal that could shape the landscape for special privilege.

Wednesday, the public battle reconvenes, as the City Council votes on a measure that would force Houstonians to celebrate homosexuality and transgenderism, regardless of their personal beliefs, or face serious criminal punishment. As part of the bill, Mayor Parker (who said this effort was "intensely personal") men would be allowed to use women's showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms (and vice-versa) based on their "perceived gender" -- opening the door (quite literally) for sexual predators to prey on women and girls under the guise of gender confusion.

The backlash against the ordinance has been severe, thanks in large part to a strong coalition of pastors and local conservatives who refuse to be steamrolled by the forces of political correctness. While the actual vote was put off, the opposition hasn't. It continues to sound the alarm to local families about the devastation this could inflict -- not just on Houston, but any city emboldened to try a similar stunt.

** If you missed last week's Watchmen on the Wall conference, check out some of the great coverage on Rev. Franklin Graham, Rev. Rafael Cruz, Sen. Tim Scott, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and others.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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