IRS and the Filibuster

Glen Reynolds brings us this bit from a letter to the WSJ about the IRS and 501c4's:

For example, if an IRS official subjects citizens to incredibly burdensome demands for irrelevant information just to harass them for their political or religious beliefs, no 501(c)(4) group could later criticize that official’s nomination to be IRS commissioner, without engaging in restricted activity. That’s because the IRS’s proposed regulation defines even unelected government officials, like agency heads and judges, as “candidates” if they have been nominated for a position requiring Senate confirmation. The IRS’s proposed rules are an attack on the First Amendment that will make it easier for the government to get away with harassing political dissenters and whistleblowers in the future.

The part about classifying Senate-confirmed officials as "candidates" seems to be part of the same initiative as the changes to the filibuster to make it easier for the President to confirm controversial judges and administrators.  I wonder if this is a general effort or battlespace preparation for a specific confirmation battle.

  • morgan.c.frank

    " I wonder if this is a general effort or battlespace preparation for a specific confirmation battle."

    i think it's a short term smash and grab that the current politocos see as a one time deal.

    there are currently many empty federal judgeships etc. if you fear getting creamed in the upcoming midterm elections, then you push this trough now, fill all those seats while still in power.

    that's a one time deal taking up slack.

    later, this power will get used far more evenly, but if you grab this one time shot to appoint loads of young judges that share your ideology, you can get a benefit for decades and decades that will be very difficult to undo and could well permanently alter the complexion of the federal judiciary, as judges tend to wait to step down until they feel they will be replaced by someone of similar predilections.

  • Nehemiah

    It is battlespace preparation, but not for a specific battle, but for the progressive's ongoing war on our Constitution. Eventually the major power grab will be made led by a collapse in our currency, followed by hyper inflation, social chaos, marshal law, and suspension of Federal elections. "What else could we do, we had to instill order."

    Whoops, I better get my tin foil hat back on.

  • bigmaq1980

    Seems a reasonable explanation.

    Filibuster rules have always been a topic of controversy, and each side has attempted to put limits on it when they were in power.

    No doubt, in four or six years the Dems, when (if) out of power, will be screaming about how unfair and undemocratic it is.

    The problem is when one considers their abuse of congressional procedures to effectively unilaterally pass a huge piece of legislation - the ACA, or to effectively lock in $1T deficit spending for several years by blocking budget legislation, and now judgeships...expect that if the GOP get similar majorities and the WH after 2016, that similar antics will be deployed.

    Its like each side is in a boat trying to sway it such that the other side falls off the edge, change/bend/reinterpret the rules enough and they could effectively block the other party from ever getting a majority, creating one party rule.

  • NL7

    The rule isn't a new thing. Congress and the Treasury wrote the rules on tax exemption to restrict lobbying, which is defined as public grassroots activity, but it doesn't restrict talking privately with legislators or bureaucrats, which is what the average person calls lobbying. In fact, hiring a lobbyist is much less likely to be "lobbying" for an exempt organization than is hiring an ad company and printing door hangers to make the same exact arguments.

    Regular people distrust arguments that aren't made publicly, but politicians hate the idea of giving tax exemptions to groups that go over their heads to stir up the public against them. So the rules have been written for a long time to discourage public politicking but allow private politicking.