Earlier today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in his first appearance before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Oversight, stated that final regulations governing political activity by 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations are unlikely to be completed before the November elections.

His statement seems to differ from the White House Statement of Administration Policy that was published last night.  In that statement, the Administration “strongly opposes” proposed legislation temporarily prohibiting the IRS from finalizing the proposed regulations for one year (i.e., until after the elections).  That legislation, H.R. 3865, was passed by the House late this afternoon.  The Statement concludes by stating that if the President were presented with H.R. 3865, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

The difference may reflect the Commissioner’s initial view that it will be all but impossible to reconcile the many and diverse comments, largely negative, that have been submitted to the IRS commenting on the proposed regulations prior to the November elections.

At the same time, some critics of the proposed new rules feel that the Administration is keen on implementing them before the November elections.  Their view is likely to be strengthened by the Administration’s Statement.