McConnell Co-Sponsors Bill to Block Democrats’ Anti-Free-Speech, Anti-Privacy Proposal
‘I’m proud to stand with Senator Braun, with 39 Republican cosponsors, and with citizens across America, across the political spectrum, who don’t need the IRS peering into their First Amendment activities any more than is strictly necessary.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding S.1:
“As Democrats have pushed their massive political takeover bill, S. 1, Americans’ First Amendment rights and privacy rights have been thrust into center stage.
“The legislation contains multiple elements that would chill Americans’ exercise of free speech and let Washington bureaucrats hoard more of citizens’ private information without good cause.
“We know exactly how this can go wrong.
“Remember President Obama’s IRS scandal? Unelected bureaucrats treated organizations differently, subjected Americans to unequal scrutiny, depending on their beliefs. Nonprofits with a whiff of conservative beliefs were slow-walked and singled out for unfair treatment.
“Or think back to 2014. The Obama Administration had to reach a settlement after a government worker leaked confidential information about a conservative group in violation of federal law. Unsurprisingly, those private details found their way to a liberal group that had plenty of ideas about what to do with it.
“Courts have found that the state of California has ‘repeatedly’ leaked or inappropriately released confidential information about nonprofits’ donors.
“Last year, remembering all these incidents, the Treasury Department finalized action on a basic, commonsense principle:
“If there’s no legitimate reason for the IRS to have certain information, then the IRS shouldn’t collect it!
“The prior Administration had the IRS stop blanket collection of nonpublic information about citizens who make non-tax-deductible contributions to certain organizations.
“Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are not tax-deductible. The IRS doesn’t need these details just for kicks and giggles.
“But now, Democrats’ political takeover bills would roll back this step and open new fronts in the far-left war on privacy and free speech.
“S. 1 would narrow the protections of the First Amendment. It would empower the feds with new authority to track and police Americans’ speech.
“This is the same bill that would essentially make Washington Democrats the board of elections for every county and state in America. I guess, somehow, that wasn’t enough.
“Well, I’ve worked with my colleague from Indiana, Senator Braun, on legislation to nip one part of this nonsense in the bud.
“Our bill would codify the rule issued by the last administration.
“Americans would remain free from a federal dragnet collecting private information that it neither needs nor uses for legitimate law enforcement purposes. Information that can be mishandled — or worse, used to target and harass Americans based on their views.
“I’m proud to stand with Senator Braun, with 39 Republican cosponsors, and with citizens across America, across the political spectrum, who don’t need the IRS peering into their First Amendment activities any more than is strictly necessary.
“I urge all our colleagues to support our simple bill.”
Related Issues: First Amendment, Senate Democrats