Question of the day

Why do political organizations get subsidized, anyway?

Jeffrey Tobin:

It’s important to review why the Tea Party groups were petitioning the I.R.S. anyway. They were seeking approval to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This would require them to be “social welfare,” not political, operations.

There are significant advantages to being a 501(c)(4). These groups don’t pay taxes; they don’t have to disclose their donors—unlike traditional political organizations, such as political-action committees. In return for the tax advantage and the secrecy, the 501(c)(4) organizations must refrain from traditional partisan political activity, like endorsing candidates.

[…] Particularly leading up to the 2012 elections, many conservative organizations, nominally 501(c)(4)s, were all but explicitly political in their work.

In every meaningful sense, groups like Americans for Prosperity were operating as units of the Republican Party. Democrats organized similar operations, but on a much smaller scale. (They undoubtedly would have done more, but they lacked the Republican base for funding such efforts.) So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way.

Courtesy of medical malpractice attorney Thomas Soldan.

One thought on “Question of the day

  1. There are several scandals here not the least of which is the tax-exempt status of many of 501(c) 4 groups. For example why does our Congress write such crappy, vaguely worded laws? Oh wait, that’s so that they can create loopholes in the law so nobody will ever have to go to jail. Like banksters. Never mind. Why was Sarah Hall Ingram just promoted to oversee the implementation of ACA after having failed so miserably in her last job at the IRS? Why is Lois Lerner of the IRS still employed? Being a civil service employee does gum up the wheels for firing someone. But this lady’s past actions, like lying to Congress, should more than qualifiy her for immediate dismissal. Then there’s Douglas Shulman the Bush apointee who started all this shit in the first place. We’ll hear from him next Wednesday.

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