Privacy and free speech reside at the core of the constitutional rights of Americans, and the Internal Revenue Service risks trampling on those rights when it goes outside its role as tax collector to regulate political activity.
After years of investigations into I.R.S. treatment of Tea Party groups, and after meeting near-universal opposition to its most recent proposal to rewrite the rules for political speech by nonprofits, the agency is wise to step back and reconsider.
Fortunately, there is no risk to taxpayers in waiting to act. Contributions to nonprofits that engage in political activity are not tax-deductible, and total political spending by groups that do not disclose their donors accounted for less than 5 percent of all federal campaign spending in 2014 and 2012.