March 4, 2014

HSLDA’s Jim Mason Testifies before Congress
against Proposed IRS Regulations

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Federal Relations Director

Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

Last week, we told you about HSLDA joining with organizations across the political spectrum in opposing new IRS regulations that would limit free speech. This past Thursday, HSLDA Senior Counsel Jim Mason testified before the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs to explain how the proposed IRS rule would hurt HSLDA, homeschool support groups, homeschoolers, and the entire nation.

If you missed the testimony on Thursday, you can watch it here. Jim’s testimony begins right after the 44-minute mark. You can also read his written testimony here.

Speaking Out

Jim was joined by numerous witnesses representing organizations with wide-ranging political views. With one voice, all the witnesses opposed the proposed IRS regulations.

Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (OH) thanked HSLDA during the hearing for speaking out against the proposed regulations. “My wife and I were HSLDA members, as well as Representative Meadows [another member of the committee],” he stated.

Representatives Ron DeSantis (FL), Mark Meadows (NC), Kerry Bentivolio (PA), and Scott DesJarlais (TN) also attended the hearing and urged the IRS to withdraw the proposed regulations. In a surprise, full committee Chairman Darrell Issa (CA) also spoke at the hearing and castigated the IRS and Obama Administration for even considering the proposed regulations.

Imposing Silence

The proposed rule would prevent HSLDA from discussing government officials who also happen to be candidates in an upcoming election. The IRS seeks to make it illegal for any 501(c)(4) organization (like HSLDA) to mention an elected official 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. As Jim Mason explained, under the proposed rule, “what would be an issue-advocacy communication on Monday would be a candidate-related political activity on Tuesday—without changing a single word.”

Your HSLDA is on the front lines of keeping homeschooling families informed about government policies that affect the freedom of parents to educate their children at home. If the proposed IRS regulation is adopted, HSLDA and countless other organizations across the nation will be severely limited in informing United States citizens about what our elected officials are doing.

The House of Representatives has passed legislation which would delay implementation of the regulations for one year. The public comment period has ended with a record-breaking 150,000 remarks submitted about the proposed regulations, almost all in opposition. It remains to be seen what the IRS will do next.

Action Requested

Please call your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators and ask them to take action to stop the proposed IRS regulations.

You can reach your legislators at the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, or use HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox to find your legislators’ contact information. There is no need to identify yourself as a homeschooler. Your message can be as simple as the following:

“I urge you to protect free speech from being trampled by the IRS. This proposed regulation violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. It silences ordinary Americans who join a 501(c)(4) organization in order to align with other Americans in a common cause. It makes it harder for ordinary Americans to find out what their government is doing at the local, state, and federal level. Please do whatever you can to stop these proposed regulations from the IRS.”

Thank you for standing with us to preserve the First Amendment and the ability of the citizens to hold their government accountable by joining organizations which share their values. Since HSLDA was founded in 1983, we have fought for our members and the homeschool community by ensuring that elected officials leave homeschool freedom alone. We have also fought for free speech, so that American citizens can hold their government accountable. We will not rest until this proposed IRS regulation is defeated, either by the IRS withdrawing it, through congressional action, or in the courts.

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Protect Your Family

If you aren’t yet a member of HSLDA, consider joining today! HSLDA’s work benefits homeschooolers in the United States and around the world. We invite you to participate in our ministry to the homeschool community.
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