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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Obama Administration Moves to Silence 501(c)(4) Organizations -- By John Hinderaker, PowerLine

The “IRS scandal” consists of the fact that the agency targeted Tea Party groups and other identifiably conservative organizations for special scrutiny, denying them tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status in advance of the 2012 election. The tactic worked, as many conservative groups were effectively taken out of action during that election cycle. In the aftermath of the scandal, the Obama administration is moving to institutionalize its discrimination against conservative groups in the form of new IRS regulations defining the political activity in which 501(c)(4) organizations can participate.

The proposed regulations are here. A key provision is that a 501(c)(4) organization cannot engage in any activity that mentions a candidate for office or a political party within 60 days of a general election. The regulation is facially neutral as between conservative and liberal groups, but its effect will fall overwhelmingly on conservative organizations, as NPR points out:
The new U.S. Treasury/Internal Revenue Service rules aimed at clarifying what constitutes political activity for tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations are likely to give more heartburn to conservative groups than their liberal counterparts.
In 2012, conservatives pumped nearly eight times the money through their 501 (c) groups than liberals did, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org website. …
CRP reported that conservatives spent $265.2 million through 501 (c) groups compared to $34.7 spent by liberal groups during the 2012 cycle.
NPR News’ Peter Overby, who covers campaign finance issues, provided us with an even more refined breakdown since the CRP data is for all groups in the 501 c category.
Peter reports that of the 28 social-welfare organizations that are known as 501 (c) (4) groups and spent at least $1 million in the 2012 election cycle, 20 were conservative. They spent a total $204 million.
Liberals made up seven of the $1 million-plus groups. Combined they spent $33 million.
So for the Obama administration, it’s an easy calculation: 501(c)(4) groups are conservative by a margin of more than six to one, so let’s just knock them all out of action. Doing so will have no impact on the Democrats’ major funding source, the unions, since they are 501(c)(5) organizations. A reader who is extraordinarily knowledgeable on this topic writes:

This to me explains why the IRS has proposed these new regs that will essentially sideline/limit/eliminate c4 activity in the 2014 midterms. The Democrats don’t rely upon c4s and the c4s that support them aren’t as successful as the conservative/free market c4s. The Democrats rely on the unions (which are 501c5 organizations) to fund their activities. Therefore, the Administration and the IRS targeted these proposed c4 regs to take their most successful opponents off the field.

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