Bush Administration Tries to Silence NAACP

IRS targets leaders for daring to criticize Bush administration policies

The IRS has launched an investigation against the NAACP’s nonprofit status, citing criticism of the Bush administration’s economic and foreign policies at the NAACP convention. “This investigation is a brazen attempt by the Bush administration to intimidate dissenters into silence,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “It is a dangerous attempt to criminalize criticism of the president during an election year.”

Neas said it was “stunning” that the administration would try so shamelessly to silence its critics in the midst of a heated presidential election.

“The people running this administration are bullies,” said Neas. “But I know Julian Bond and Kweisi Mfume. They aren’t going to be bullied. They are going to fight for their right to speak truth to power. And we will be proud to fight with them.”

Neas said the announcement targeting the NAACP reminded him of an effort earlier this year to use the Federal Election Commission to impose draconian new rules that would limit nonprofit advocacy and essentially outlaw criticism of incumbent politicians’ policies during an election year. PFAW and other nonprofit organizations created the Coalition to Protect Nonprofit Advocacy and successfully beat back that attempt to silence election-year criticism of the president and other incumbents.

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