The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Works. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Works. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Morning Java: IRS Scandal? Really! How About Citizens United Scandal?


The issues surrounding the IRS and its "targeting" of conservative groups poses a bit of a dichotomy for me.  

First, I am not one who relishes government peeping at its citizenry unless that citizen has proven via their actions they are a direct threat to the greater society. All to often, we read or hear about a vile acts and wonder, "Now, why was that person not under arrest, or why was that person no being watched?"  I will grant backing away from my conviction regarding government scrutiny in that case and that case only.  In  fact, I found it most distasteful to read about the FBI's involvement in the psychical "squashing" of the Occupy Wall Street movement, even though I knew physical manifestation of the movement would be very short-lived. The FBI must have infiltrated, spied upon, and guided local authorities in strategies to rid cities of the physical encampments.

As a liberal, rest assured I would be mighty upset if the IRS targeted groups that carried "liberal" titles. I will add, however  conservative groups generally choose identifiers that denote themselves as conservative. 


On a secondary basis, I recognize that there are times when dynamics place pressure points of systems and those systems need additional "propping-up"; for lack of a more expedient term. One such dynamic was the Citizens United SCOTUS Decision in 2010.  It should be noted that the Koch Brothers are major contributors to the founding of citizen's United.  Do you think for one second the Koch Brothers have interest in so called, "social programs" regarding federal governance? Enough said on that point, for now. Post Citizens United the number of requests for 501 (c)(4) certification grew exponentially. despite Justice Alito's consternation and mouthing, "that's not true  at the President State of the Union Speech, the president's words became prophetic.


Characteristics501(c)3501(c)4527
Ability to engage in politics
Not supposed to engage in any political activities, though some voter registration activities are permitted
May engage in political activities, as long as these activities do not become their primary purpose
Politics is what 527s are *required* to do
Endorsing Candidates
CANNOT Endorse Candidates
CAN Endorse Candidates
CAN Endorse AND Field Candidates
Campaign Spending
Prohibited
Permitted but taxed
Required
Lobbying
Some lobbying
Substantial lobbying
No direct lobbying
General Political Advocacy (not related to legislation or the election of candidates.)
Yes, as an educational activity.)
Yes, provided it is not the primary activity of the organization
Yes
Contributions
Able to accept unlimited, tax-deductible donations
Able to accept unlimited, non tax-deductible donations
Able to accept limited (based on FEC regulations), non tax- deductible donations.
Donor Reporting
Donors kept anonymous.
Donors kept anonymous.
Donors are publicly reported.
Must apply with the IRS
YES
NO
YES

Outside the Beltway published the following analysis, and for me it seems very credible and laden with facts.
 
The following chart, included in the IRS audit, demonstrates that in the wake of Citizens United, there was a marked increase (~40% a year) in the number of 501(c)4 applications being submitted to the IRS.
tax-exempt-applications
Let me note that this period—2010 to 2012—also saw the maturation of the Tea Party. And research into Tea Party communities shows that the accepted wisdom was that new Tea Party chapters should immediately file as 501(c)4 organizations. Ironically, of the three organization tax designations in question—501(c)3, 501(c)4, and 527—only 501(c)4 allows for a group to self-declare their status without first filing with the IRS. The advantage to filing is official recognition, which is only necessary if an outsider challenges the group’s 501(c)4 status. Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, the only thing required to operate as a 501(c)4 is to say that you‘re a 501(c)4. 
Getting back to the IRS scandal, the broader point I’m trying to make is that, whether intentional or not, the very structure of 501(c)4, combined with the Citizens United decision, and the rise of the Tea Party, unexpectedly transformed the 501(c)4 from simply being about social welfare to being about politics. And that this was, generally speaking, a relatively rapid change.The scenario so far is as follows.
We have Tax law written as far back as 1959 without modification for post Ronald Reagan 1980s GOP politics.

We have a selectively crafted SCOTUS heavily stacked with judicial activist by GOP presidents. Heck, the SCOTUS could have included the Neanderthal Robert Bork. Did you know Bork was Romney's Chief Legal Advisers?

We have a Citizens United decision in favor of an organization the the Koch Brothers heavily support and fund.

We have  a Koch Brothers funded tea party replete with anti-government sycophants, armed  domestic terrorist brandishing weapons in public, racist signage and placards and a need for funding operations. As you know, people with people dislike two things about contributing. They generally do not want to be taxed, and in the case of political contributions they have no desire to have their names associated with their contributions. Thus, the circular and existential threat of Citizens United.

We have the coming 2011/2012 election campaigns with a green Citizens United light for secretive contributions.

What we really have is the smell of a rat!


I have read reports that progressive groups were also delayed in approval of certification. Moreover, there are reports not of one request was denied. They were to a point all approved.  

The IREHR, Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights published a detail piece on May 17th. The piece includes data related to certification denials. 

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