White House Move an Attempt to Silence Critics?

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The Obama administration is trying to limit tax-exempt groups' ability to campaign politically.

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service want to change the rules for so-called "social welfare" groups.

The government agencies want to block the groups from gaining tax exempt status if their primary mission includes running political ads, registering voters, and distributing campaign literature.

The move comes as legal battles still play out for Tea Party groups who allege they were harassed by the IRS after seeking tax exempt status.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., said the move exposes the administration's attempt to silence its critics.

"There continues to be an ongoing investigation, with many documents yet to be uncovered, into how the IRS systematically targeted and abused conservative-leaning groups," Camp said. "This smacks of the administration trying to shut down potential critics."

The American Center for Law and Justice represents 41 organizations who have filed suit against the IRS. Twenty-two of them eventually received tax-exempt status. Twelve requests are still pending, but five withdrew applications because of frustration with the process.

The IRS closed files on two of the groups because they refused to answer unconstitutional requests for more information.

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