Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Part Of 'Exclusive' Does IRS Fail To Grasp?

At the heart of the crooked dark money game and the hijacking of elections by phony front groups is the abuse of the federal tax code.

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's preposterous decision three years ago in the Citizens United case, corporations are considered people and have been freed to spend as much as they want to influence American elections. This ruling has led to a proliferation of nonprofit corporations devoted to meddling in elections. Most of these outfits are organized under section 501c4 of the Internal Revenue Code.

But it's not just the Citizens United decision that has unleashed the 501c4s politically speaking. The IRS deserves a substantial share of the blame.

Federal law says 501c4 groups have to "exclusively" work to promote social welfare. When the IRS wrote rules to implement the statute, the agency ignored the plain meaning of the law. IRS rules say 501c4 groups have to "primarily" focus on social welfare work, while the law Congress passed says "exclusively."

Exactly how federal bureaucrats could see the word "exclusively" and interpret it to mean "primarily" is a mystery. But this word play has devastating consequences for democracy. The IRS rules are allowing nonprofit organizations that have been granted tax-exempt status for the purposes of doing social welfare work to devote close to half of their resources to warping election outcomes. And because social welfare nonprofits do not have to publicly disclose those who donate to their cause, who's behind this election activity can be cloaked in secrecy.

There is a simple solution to the explosion of dark money-fueled electioneering by 501c4s. Reclassify all 501c4 groups as 527 organizations. Groups organized under section 527 of the federal tax code can do as much politicking as they want, but they have to disclose their donors, while 501c4 social welfare nonprofits can keep their funding sources secret.

The IRS is about to be sued over its misinterpretation and misapplication of federal law. Here's hoping this lawsuit succeeds in forcing the IRS to bring its rules and its enforcement in line with that law.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yup, that's how most stuff is done these days it seems. The one thing Obama has reaaaally worked to Change is the definitions of words. International Assassination is not really assassination, because assassination is illegal, so...
Strikes on Americans are not legal UNLESS you redefine them as "not persons", so they do, and they're not. A coup is not really a coup, when sending aid to a nation that has just had a VERY OBVIOUS textbook case military coup would be illegal. I hope Obama's kids are raised by Michelle or a Nanny, because if you do that kind of hocus pocus stuff to a child it seriously messes with their native ability to assess reality and they end up like Norman Bates or something. It ain't good, and it's also a crappy way to lead a nation. UNLESS you are interested only in bending the whole mess to your own will and desires, rather than serving the democratic health and needs of the people. It's the M.O. of narcissists and dictators. Any degree of it in a democracy is bad news.
As the Nazis were building power they made sweeping changes to language, Vergewaltigung des Sprachgeistes, meaning rape of the spirit of the language. Bush certainly did it. Obama's going at warp speed with it.
"Well it tell ya folks, those constitutional amendments don't mean what you think they mean, only I, Barack, can tell you what they really mean."
This is one of the many creepy problems with electing a man for president based on all that "inspirational" and "touch my robes,I'm a Savior" garbage Obama did. The People don't interpret the Holy Books directly, no matter how clear the language is - the Shaman does it. HE tells you what the words mean. So there's some Exclusivity for ya, just not where we all thought it was gonna be.