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Thune and 10 others write letter of protest

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Thune joined 10 other Republicans in a letter calling on Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen to end the Obama administration's proposed regulation that it says would stifle the free speech of groups that have criticized the White House.

In the letter released Monday, the senators said Commissioner Koskinen has the unilateral authority to prevent the proposed regulation from becoming final and urged him to not sign the proposed rule should it reach his desk for approval

"We call on you to stand your ground and stop this terrible proposed regulation from becoming a final regulation by refusing to sign it if it reaches your desk," wrote the Senators

Under current law, according to the senators, 501(c)(4) organizations, or social welfare groups, can engage in political activities on a limited basis so long as their primary activity is the promotion of social welfare.

Last November, the IRS proposed new regulations that would alter the nature of the activities that these organizations can engage in.

The final regulations would likely take effect before the 2014 election.