The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Should IRS Standards for 501(c) Groups Require Proof of ‘Social Welfare’ Purpose?

Posted on | May 18, 2013 | 12 Comments

That’s what “many Democrats” seem to be saying:

“Partisanship or the perception of politics has no place in the IRS,” acting commissioner Steven Miller said in a brief opening statement to the Ways and Means Committee . . .
And many Democrats turned to what they saw as the bigger issue: A tax code that doesn’t make clear what kinds of political activities a tax-exempt social welfare organization can participate in.

Hmmm. My memory must be playing tricks on me these days. The phrase “tax-exempt social welfare organization” rings a bell, but for some reason I’m having trouble thinking of an example.

See, this “social welfare” aspect is very important to the IRS:

“. . . a paid employee of one of the nonprofits, Justice Through Music Project, a 501c3 ‘educational’ nonprofit. . . . Both JTMP and the other group, Velvet Revolution US, a 501c4 “action” nonprofit, are headquartered in . . . Bethesda, Maryland.”

Justice Through Music . . . is a co-founder . . . of the Election and Media Reform organization,”

“Election and Media Reform” are obviously the kind of social welfare purposes which legitimate 501(c)4 groups pursue.

An effort to “Prosecute Rove” is neither “transparently partisan” nor the action of a “tax-exempt  . . . racket,” right, Brad Friedman?

As the IG’s report details (to those who actually bothered to read it!), all of this was a part of the federal agency’s poorly executed attempt to screen a flood of incoming applications for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) status in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. That infamous ruling, essentially paving the way for unrestricted money for campaign spending, resulted in an exponential increase in political organizations attempting to take part in a tax-exempt “social welfare organization” racket which illegally flooded the 2010 and 2012 election cycles with transparently partisan spending on direct political advertisements and other related efforts — in violation of the (unenforced) law.

Yes, it’s a terrible thing when people violate laws.

Sandi Barton’s youngest daughter . . . was 14 when her grandmother, 65-year-old Julia Scyphers, was murdered — a crime that remains officially unsolved to this day.”

If only there were someone to call attention to these issues . . .



12 Responses to “Should IRS Standards for 501(c) Groups Require Proof of ‘Social Welfare’ Purpose?”

  1. WJJ Hoge
    May 18th, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    I wonder how Mr. Friedman would feel about an audit of Velvet Revolution US’s books? Brett Kimberlin pleaded the Fifth rather than produce those records for discovery in a civil lawsuit.

  2. Sandman619
    May 18th, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

    The IRS allows 501(c)(4) organizations to self-declare their status, which might be the only 501(c) status that can. So submitting to the IRS was unnecessary

    Cheers !

  3. slp
    May 18th, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

    Is Media Matters a 501(c)(4)group?

  4. Phineas T. Barnum
    May 18th, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

    I was talking to a former Commissioner of the IRS who said, “There is one difference between a tax collector and a taxidermist—the taxidermist leaves the hide.”

  5. K-Bob
    May 18th, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    Social welfare, social justice, “economic justice,” and all of the other bogus concepts the left comes up with to justify taking control over peoples’ lives. Of course, the “justice” part is a cruel joke.

  6. Adjoran
    May 18th, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

    There is no way to narrowly define a broad term like “social welfare activity.” The best thing that can come out of this is to eliminate ALL tax favoritism – exemptions, deductions, “progressivity.”

    A low flat tax with a set basic per-dependent allowance, but all income beyond that point taxed. No more tax-free activities for anyone – churches, charities, even Planned Parenthood and the League of Women Voters can pay their fair share. But the low rate will be affordable if drawn to be revenue-neutral, and everyone will save on tax preparation costs – and benefit from an economy no longer distorted by Byzantine rules designed to benefit various special interests.

  7. Adjoran
    May 18th, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    Ever notice that all the people who demand “justice” actually want money instead?

  8. #BrettKimberlin’s Partner Says the IRS Scandal is Phony | hogewash
    May 19th, 2013 @ 12:04 am

    […] Stacy McCain has further comments on the broader issues of 501(c)4 tax exempt organizations here. […]

  9. Serr8d
    May 19th, 2013 @ 12:34 am

    Media Matters for America is a 501(c)(3) group, which means the wealthy Leftists can pump them up! without paying taxes. What’s interesting about that is MMFA’s Vice President is Angelo Carusone, the little Twitter fellow whoso other incarnations are @StopBeck and @StopRush.

    MMFA has funded the #StopRush Twitter organization for over a year now. They’ve at least six or seven full-time, paid employee ‘volunteers’ who each have multiple sock puppets. I’ve watched them change shifts, hand off responsibilities to the next ‘puppet.

    They Tweet ’round the clock to Limbaugh’s advertisers, then each RT’s the others’ Tweets, which adds up to a cacophony of abusive, spam attacks on unsuspecting advertisers. It’s no wonder many of them pull out in dismay.

    There’s also a Facebook presence. Both are driven by Daily KOS members, overseen by MMFA staffers.

    It’s a pretty nifty organization. The Right has nothing like it, of course. The IRS would have none of that!

  10. Pablo
    May 19th, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Media Matters is a 501(c)(3). An affiliated offshoot, Media Matters Action Fund is a 501(c)(4).

  11. jsn2
    May 19th, 2013 @ 8:24 am

    “Should IRS Standards for 501(c) Groups Require Proof of ‘Social Welfare’ Purpose?”

    Planned Parenthood is a 501 (c) organization so, in the opinion of the IRS a dead baby is proof of social welfare. That must be why they denied 501 (c) status for those pro life groups.

  12. richard mcenroe
    May 20th, 2013 @ 1:29 am

    Is the IRS’s “social welfare” content the same as the “redeeming social value” of old 60’s porn court rulings?