By: Mark Hyman

The IRS scheme to punish individuals and tax-exempt groups over their free speech has been in going on for a few years.

There’s more.

Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski have introduced legislation that would strip the privacy rights of donors to tax-exempt organizations.

Donors have pointed out that disclosing their contributions to tax-exempt groups – or even their membership in these groups — has sometimes resulted in retaliation (here).  This has a chilling effect on free speech, they argue.

The abusive activities of the IRS include leaking private financial information [also here, here, here, here] – in apparent violation of federal law – to organizations that support the Obama Administration.

Not everyone is shocked by these developments.

Julian Bond has said he supports the abusive tactics of the IRS against tax-exempt groups such as the Tea Party.  Bond is the chairman emeritus of the NAACP.

His comments are especially odd considering the origin of the rules to protect the privacy of membership and donors to tax-exempt groups.

In 1959, The Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional right to free speech — and the right to assembly — included a right to private group association.

The case involved a government demand for the membership list of a tax-exempt group.  Government officials wanted to retaliate against the group’s members.

The case — the NAACP versus Alabama [case law is here].  Julian Bond’€™s group.

About The Author Mark Hyman:
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group.

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