IRS Proposes New Guidelines for Political Non-Profits


Throughout the mostly fake IRS “scandal” the right pretended that it was all about Obama persecuting conservative groups, but the real problem was that the rules governing political non-profits are far too vague and provide little guidance. Now the IRS is proposing new rules to fix that.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed guidelines on Tuesday that could force dark-money political groups like Crossroads GPS and the American Future Fund to spend less of their money on campaign advertising and other overt electioneering. If implemented, this guidance would clarify what actions by tax-exempt social welfare organizations are limited “candidate-related political activity” and what actions can count toward their principal purpose.

Since the Supreme Court’s controversial 5 to 4 ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC case in 2010, the IRS has seen a large increase in the number of groups applying for 501(c)(4) status— the section of the federal tax code that governs non-profit groups dedicated to social welfare. Some of these 501(c)(4)s have functioned much like super PACs, but evaded campaign finance disclosure laws.

Not all 501(c)(4)s engage in political activity of any kind — the United States Chess Federation, for example, is a fairly apolitical group. Political 501(c)(4) groups are required to adhere to certain rules, including that they not be “primarily engaged” in electioneering activity, in order to maintain their tax-exempt status. In a failed attempt to sort out which groups were apolitical and which needed additional scrutiny, the IRS inappropriately singled out Tea Party groups and some progressive organizations.

But the guidelines for what is and is not an acceptable level of political activity for a (c)(4) hasnever been clear — a vague “primary purpose” test — and has been little enforced. The draft guidance would clarify the question for the first time.

This has long been a problem but it was made far worse by the Christians United ruling. And this also involves the entirely fake distinction between campaign ads and “issues ads.” These 501(c)(4) groups involved in politics spend massive amounts of money, none of it traceable to the source, on ads for and against candidates at every level, but rather than ending with “vote against candidate so-and-so” they say “call candidate so-and-so and tell them you’re against blah blah blah.” And that’s how they get away with claiming that they’re not “primarily political.” But no one can seriously buy that argument and it’s about time that the IRS cracked down on this utterly false pretense.

Comments

  1. Donnie says

    “Christians United”….kind of an amusing typo autocorrect. Chrisyians United, keeping the WASPs in power and control of “those”*people.

    * “those” being anyone not christian, white, or not convervayive enough regardless of colour.

  2. says

    FIRST THE IRS TARGETS PATRIOTIC PATRIOTS PATRIOTING AMERICA VIA TAX DEDUCTIBLE OR ANONYMOUS DONATIONS NOW THEYRE MAKING “STANDARDS” AND “REGULATIONS” TO EXCLUDE AND SUPPRESS MORE PATRIOTIC PATRIOTS PATRIOTING AMERICA VIA TAX DEDUCTIBLE OR ANONYMOUS DONATIONS! THANKS, OBAMACARE!

    WAKE UP AMERICA! WAKE UP AND, IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION, VOTE OUT THE DEMOCRAT PARTY.*
     

    * THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY PATRIOTIC PATRIOTS PATRIOTING AMERICA VIA TAX DEDUCTIBLE OR ANONYMOUS DONATIONS, 501c(3), 501c(4), 501c(5) & 501c(6).

  3. Michael Heath says

    The only political campaign TV ads I’ve been seeing over the past several weeks is brought to us by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. They’ve been relentlessly running the same ad touting MI District #1’s Representative to the U.S. Congress, tea bagger Dan Benishek. In spite of the fact they’re a 501(c)(4) organization.

    It’s a blatant violation of the purpose of such organizations, not that people as evil as the Koch brothers give a flying fuck about that.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    The timing of this indicates the IRS expects a lot of backlash from this move.

    Good thing all the True Patriots™ are out today trampling each other into the tiles at WalMarts around the country.

    But just wait ’til next week!

  5. says

    “If implemented”

    “IF” needs to be in 248 Pt. Boldface KKKrazzepants typeface. Will not be happening prior to the earth’s sun going nova.

    The same folks that are subverting the election process are already silent partners with the ReiKKKwing congress (and the lefties–to a far less significant extent).

    “not that people as evil as the Koch brothers give a flying fuck about that.”

    Michael Heath:

    I still see you in a button down shirt and rep tie but now the sleeves are torn off the shirt and you have a Mohawk. Get your mad on my brohomiecommieatheoleftie. Or not, I know you have family and can’t act like me without them becoming concerned about your behavior. {;>)

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