Jul 20, 2018

Senator Daines is Right: Targeting Americans for Their Political Beliefs is Cause for Concern

Post by Freedom Partners

In a recent conversation with Americans for Prosperity, Senator Steve Daines expressed his trepidation over the state of the First Amendment in America today. Specifically, he spoke about the importance of Americans’ ability to support causes they believe in without fear of harassment or backlash over their beliefs.

Fortunately, the Treasury Department and IRS recently took a positive step toward protecting the First Amendment rights of Americans. They announced they will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations to file personally identifiable information about their supporters as part of their annual return.

This is an issue that drew national attention in 2013, after it was discovered that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had targeted political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes.

As Senator Danies said, the IRS’s actions, “should give every American pause and give them great concern. How the IRS was stopping free speech, we can’t let that happen again.”

Forcing nonprofits to turn over their supporters would give politicians and government bureaucrats unprecedented access to information that could be used to intimidate critics and stifle dissent.

Citizens have a right to support causes they believe in privately. It is the very reason the government doesn’t publicize a database listing who or what you vote for in an election.

Whether anonymous or identified, free speech acts as a safeguard, repelling government threats to our liberties. It is a right that has enabled Americans to advance the promise of freedom, from women’s suffrage, to the civil rights movement, to the critical issues of our day.

We stand with Senator Daines in the belief that every American should have their First Amendment rights protected.