The original intent of the 401(C) 4 law as written was to preclude any
organization seeking tax exempt status under that statute from engaging in
partisan political activity. The law reads that such organizations must conform
to a public service or charitable role "exclusively". In 1958 the IRS,
during a Republican administration, wrote a regulation that essentially changed
the plain meaning of the law from "exclusive" to "primarily". I
doubt that many of these funding organizations seeking tax protection under
401(C) 4 ever do any substantive public service or charitable work at all.
People should read the actual report on these activities rather than relying on
what they read and hear elsewhere. Having read it, it's clear that both
conservative and liberal groups were reviewed by the IRS, applications were
completed improperly so needed to be questioned, titles gave the IRS, an agency
that has had its budget cut and had received at least a thousand more
applications, a way of "high grading" the applications to help with
processing. At least, that's my take on what I read. Perhaps conservative
groups were reviewed more because more applied. 501(c)4 organizations seem, to
me, to fall into a very "gray" definition and if I were starting one
would be very concerned about where that might lead. Remember, several years
ago, it was liberal churches that were being scrutinized for their political
The Tea Party and other Right Wing groups are certainly NOT “primarily
engaged in promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the
people of the community.”They are doing just the opposite.And how is it wrong for the IRS to enforce tax laws?Look . .
. The tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party proudly and loudly proclaims its
opposition to paying taxes.Therefore, TEA Party members are more
likely to cheat on their taxes.Therefore, it makes sense for the IRS
to scrutinize Tea Party organizations and similar reactionary Right Wing Groups
that are likely to cheat on their taxes.Make sense?
@Mountanman#1: Why do Democrats defend corruption?Are you
saying Republicans don't also defend corruption? That's a gas. Have
you not paid attention to the John Swallow affair? Corruption knows no political
Correction:The Treasury Dept, not the Fed, writes/issues the regulations
for the tax code.
Conservative Republican hucksters often say that when the government takes money
from one person to give to another, that doing so is a crime and that the people
of government are criminals. While they only use this as part of their package
of lies to thwart the civilization of human kind, the never seem to mention the
greatest part of the crime being the tax deduction for charity. While it may be beneficial to society to promote religion and religious
actions, the business of tax deductable has gotten far out of hand when
political groups with the avowed intent to bring down our government ask for the
government itself to force the whole American society to finance their cause.
"Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States", says with
regards to taxation as a regulation power: "The power to lay taxes is a
power exclusively given to raise revenue, and it can constitutionally be applied
to no other purposes. The application for other purposes is an abuse of the
power; and, in fact, however it may be in form disguised, it is a premeditated
usurpation of authority.(Section 481)" And it also says: "The
instrument (constitution) was not intended to provide merely for the exigencies
for a few years; but was to endure through a long lapse of ages, the events of
which were locked up in the inscrutable purposes of Providence.(Sec 190)"
The government is not supposed to be regulating speech or any other
policy of the federal government, through taxation. Yet this is exactly what
they do on every policy. The whole concept of the IRS regulating speech,
requiring the source of funding for entities that speak against government
policies, or any other use of the IRS to establish a government policy is
unconstitutional. It is unfortunate that those in power that are supposed to
uphold our Constitution are, in fact, chipping away at its intent.
"Many now defending the president would be justifiably outraged if the Bush
administration had engaged in such behavior."When I read this I
immediately thought of Bush AG Alberto Gonzales, Monica Goodling, etc., and
their sterling contribution to politicizing the Justice Department. Those were
some creepy, dark days...
E Sam,If you actually believe that the "Barak H. Obama
Foundation" is helping the poor worldwide, I know of a bridge in
Chappaquiddick that is for sale. Malik Obama is linked to the
Muslim Brotherhood, in fact, he is a fund raiser for that group. There are
easily found photos of him wearing a scarf that says: “Jerusalem is ours
– We are coming!” It is reported that "An IRS determination
letter dated June 11, 2011, granted a highly irregular, retroactive tax-exempt
status only after the group came under fire for having operated as a 501(c)3
foundation since 2008 without applying to the IRS." (Jerome R. Corsi)Malik and the President are very close. Malik was the Best Man at the
President's wedding. Given the fact that the
"Foundation" was incorporated on a Sunday, which can't happen and
the fact that the IRS illegally granted it non-profit status and allowed that
designation to be retroactive for over two years, nothing that the IRS says
about non-profits corporations should be taken seriously.
While 501c4 applications have doubled since Citizens United, the IRS budget
decreased by $1 billion dollars over the past 4 yrs.Tax fraud has
increased. Responsiveness to taxpayer's questions have decreased.Republicans asked for additional budget cuts amounting to $3 billion
dollars.The IRS employess 6500 full-time and 500 part-timer workers
in UT, making it one of the top 15 largest employers in the state, amounting to
approx $270 million into the local economy. The IRS is tasked with
enforcing tax laws which fund the many govt programs citizens voted for and
benefit from. As with any public agency tasked with enforcing laws--will
we benefit if their job becomes harder?
The non profit world has long since politicized itself.
Mike Richards,It is true that Malik Obama has founded a non-profit
organization, named after his father, Barack H. Obama, and that Malik is a
half-brother to the President. However, the non-profit in question has not
applied for, (nor, obviously, been granted) 401(c)(3) status. It has been
fundraising in Virginia, quite possibly illegally. It is not 'raising funds
for political advertizing' for 'Barack H. Obama. It could hardly do
so, since the Barack H. Obama it's named for is dead.
Mike Richards,If that is to be allowed then yes, all should be
allowed. That is not my point. My point is that NO organization that is
primarily political should get tax exempt status. Right, left or in the middle
is irrelevant. Who you know should be irrelevant.We should not make
policy on a case by case basis. All should run through the same sieve. I
understand that this may not have been true for the case you cite. I also
understand that it is not always true when we reverse who holds the White
House.My simple question to you is, do you agree or not that
organizations that are primarily (not just incidentally) political should not be
able to benefit from tax exempt status as if they were a charity?
It's not the right to speak that's the issue here. It's the right
to do so on a TAX FREE basis. Organizations with such a privilege are supposed
to be involved in "social welfare", a fuzzy term that has left the door
open for abuse, especially by those with plenty of corporate cash or, as they
call it, "free speech". Is that what the Constitution intends, Mike?
In general, I lean towards allowing free speech. If that is speech I don't
agree with then that's the price I pay for living in a free society. The
Supreme Court gutted the fairly draconian law with it's Citizen's
United decision. Lois Lerner's emails highlighted her concern that the
decision would impact the Democratic Party. The majority of groups targeted
were conservative in nature. The average wait time for these groups seems to be
more than a year. The intimate nature of the questions and the repeated use of
the same questions suggests that they were targeted. I believe it's a
canard to shout that a few liberal groups received similar treatment while 98%
of those targeted were conservative in nature.If we are to be fair,
then the IRS must treat everyone equally under the law. They haven't. I
no longer trust them or any new rules they wish to develop. Keep the existing
rules and apply it equally to both..... not in a 98%-2% approach that leaves the
IRS open to being accused of bias.
I wish Obama was the left-winger described in this blog. It just isn't so.
Leftist leaning organizations are being subjected to INTENSIVE surveillance by
this adminstration. To my fellow left-wingers: don't give Obama a pass on
this stuff. You'll regret it.
I'm surprised (not) a DN editorial would resort to distortion, innuendo,
and misleading statements.One would think they at least would read
the Inspector General's report.First, there is zero evidence
the IRS scrutiny involved the White House. Second, the IG report
states "Specifically, only first-line management approved references to the
Tea Party in the BOLO listing criteria before it was implemented." (It was
later revealed that a self-identified Republican manager in the Cinncinati
office initiated the scrutiny of Conservative named groups).Liberal
groups were also scrutinized-- resulting in denials.Additionally,
it was the Citizens United decision which ignited the high number of groups
seeking 501(c)4 status. ProPublica reported that 84% of the money flooded
conservative organizations. Therefore, one could argue that proportionally,
conservative groups warranted a larger proportion of scrutiny. The
FBI investigated and found no illegal activity.Congress writes tax
laws, the Federal Reserve writes the regulations for the laws and the IRS uses
the FED guidelines to implement the laws. The FED and the IRS are in the
process of reviewing and revamping this section of the tax code.
Liberalism/socialism is for the public good, so those organizations which
campaign for liberal Democrat candidates are doing the public good and should be
tax exempt, while conservative republican candidates supporters should not be
tax exempt because they are not socialist.
Lois Lerner knows full well, but she isn't talking, is she Demos? Do you
care why she isn't talking? That is, if she has nothing to hide! "There
isn't a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS"? Barrack Obama.
Twin Lights,If Malik Obama and his "non-profit" organization
"Barak H. Obama Foundation" is allowed by Mr. Barak H. Obama to solicit
funds and to pay for political advertisements for Barak H. Obama, then all
organizations that solicit funds to pay for any political candidate should be
allowed. Just because Malik is Obama's half-brother does not give him or
the organization that he founded any special rights.The question
that must be answered is whether special favors should be extended to any
organization just because that organization is approved of by the President.
That is inequality under the law. Because Malik Obama was given approval and
the approval was made retroactive for two years, then every organization whose
purpose it is is to promote a political party or a political candidate should be
given equal treatment and their organization should be allowed to be non-profit
and given two-years retroactive credit.
After reading the usual liberal commenters here, along with their defense of the
indefensible actions of the IRS; I have to wonder:WHY won't
Lois Lerner testify to Congress? In the eyes of liberals, she obviously did
nothing wrong. No reason not to. Or is there?
Liberals who post at DN: 1. This is an editorial piece.2. Of
mainstream media, it can be expected that DN will lean more right than
others.3. Corruption is corruption, regardless of political
affiliation.4. Why would a head of the IRS need to assert the 5th
Amendment to avoid answering questions about her department "doing its
job?" Might self incrimination be a threat to her? Since when does the 5th
Amendment belong inside an administration who claims that transparency is of the
highest order?5. Really, the Koch brothers are the biggest threat to
freedom? Really? Really?
@RG"Maybe some liberal groups were targeted, but if you read the
news, they found that conservative groups were targeted way, way, way more
often."Because many more conservative than liberal groups formed
in the aftermath of Citizens United. The only scandal here is that the IRS
wasn't enforcing their own standards requiring the work to be
"primarily" involved with social welfare. Almost none of these groups
should've gotten tax exempt status.
Hey, right wing: I just read an article (relating to a former Utahn now working
at Hunton & Williams) and it noted that during the Bush years,
investigations were taking place against liberal groups. So, be careful about
calling the kettle black. In the end, the rules always seemed clear to me, that
tax-exempt organizations need to stay out of partisan political activities.
Maybe some liberal groups were targeted, but if you read the news, they found
that conservative groups were targeted way, way, way more often. Basically
reports that liberals and conservatives were equally targeted were red herrings
and were later corrected. This is a major scandal, folks! Even besides the
scandal aspect, I am disappointed that so many here would cede their free speech
rights to the IRS. It is a slippery slope and someday we will realize that we
have lost our rights, piecemeal.
cor·rup·tion noun \kə-ˈrəp-shən\ :"dishonest
or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials
or police officers." Merriam Webster dictionaryTwo questions;#1:
Why do Democrats defend corruption?#2: What will honest Americans do to
clean up the blatant corruption in Washington DC?
This letter is correct in its condemnation of the federal government's
actions in attempting to impose its will on the very thoughts and beliefs of its
citizens. Indeed, the federal government could not be more heavy handed.We must ask ourselves whether the actions of the current left-wing
administration are really any different from those of the hard line communists
of the old USSR. In both cases, the governments did not hesitate to attack any
and all groups with opposing views.The true issue is the left's
effort to turn this Country into a European-style socialist state. That effort
must be resisted.
Good, it's about time they actually enforce what the law says.@Thid BarkerOnly one group was completely rejected in their tax exempt
status request... a liberal group. You see it turns out that when Issa
commissions a report on targeting of conservative groups... it just ignores
targeting of liberal groups. Reality is the law requiring them to be primarily
involved in social activism should've led to most of these groups on both
sides being rejected.
Mike Richards,No question that this president (or any other) should
be able to pick and choose who can speak.But this is a broader
question. Should these organizations that primarily do nothing more than lobby
for this or that political end be considered in the same group as charities and
be allowed tax exempt status?I do no believe they should regardless
of whether I agree or disagree with them and regardless of who is president.Tax exempt is a peculiar status. If we grant it too willingly the
taxpayers will (rightly) object and many other (truly charitable) organizations
will come under fire.
Tell the truth, DN. NOT all targeted groups were conservative.
Let me guess, all the liberal groups will be deemed "for the public
good" and all the conservative groups will not.So what has
changed? Oh, yeah, IRS targeting of republicans and conservatives will no longer
require an investigation. It will be legal.
Sad, you always figure discernment, if not just basic journalism should keep the
DN from printing false propaganda. The first report only mentions conservative
groups because that's all the republicans wanted to hear. The
Treasury inspector general whose report helped drive the IRS targeting
controversy says it limited its examination to conservative groups because of a
request from House Republicans.
I'm all for fairness, too. I believe that the Constitution defines
fairness for all of us, including Mr. Obama. The Constitution states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances."Read about Malik Obama,
the President's half-brother. Read about What Malik Obama is doing. Read
about the "Barack H. Obama Foundation" created by Malik Obama and given
tax-exempt status with two-years retroactive "accommodation"When a President uses the influence of his office to wage political war on
those who speak out against him, he has violated his oath of office: "I do
solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of
President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve,
protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."The
right to speak freely is a guaranteed right. Obama has no authority to choose
who or what can speak or to limit that speech in any way.
I'm just fine with "fairness", but I'm afraid that the Koch
brothers' version of it is radically different from mine..
"Under the new rules, “campaign-related political activity”
doesn’t represent work done of the common good or general welfare.
"Who can argue with this? All the big money in politics does is
benefit those who give the money and purchase political favors.In
fact "campaign-related political activity" does just the opposite of
"common good"It is legalized bribery. Far Far to many
organizations are tax exempt.
Wise people support the efforts of IRS to sort out the true charitable
non-profits from those like American Legislative Exchange Council that perverts
"charitable" status into a cover for hard-core political pressure of
lawmakers.Obama and his administration should be praised for what
they are trying to do.
The DN shows it colors with this editorial. Citizens United ruling dramatically
changed our political system with huge influx's of cash. What BO is doing
is honorable and right. The DN editorial board would prefer the people turn
over their goverment to corporations, the religous and rich.
Imagine the howls of protest from the left if the IRS targeted the NAACP, unions
or Planned Parenthood! Why, there would be a "constitutional crisis"!
There would be protest marches. There would be outrage! But only because the IRS
targeted conservative groups, (and admitted doing so)the only thing we hear from
the left is, denial, obfuscation, blaming some "rich" guy or it
"serves them right"! What goes around comes around libs and when it does
I hope you remember your denial, your acceptance and even applause of illegal
government abuses! After all, you DO believe in fairness, don't you?
There is a distinction between a group primarily engaged in social welfare that,
here and there interacts with the political world, and what is effectively a
lobbying group that engages in little or no actual social welfare work.Clearly groups of the first type should be tax exempt. The question is,
should groups of the second type be tax exempt? That is, do their activities
sufficiently relate to the normal charitable type activities we normally grant
tax except status?Don't talk about conservative, liberal, or
anything else. That is irrelevant. The simple question is, should groups that
are primarily political lobbying groups be tax exempt (and also be effectively
opaque regarding their donors)?After we answer these questions we
should then look to be sure the IRS enforces fairly across the board.
If a Democratic president can use the IRS to target conservative groups without
consequence, what’s to prevent a Republican president from doing the same
thing to liberal groups?
First, the exemption from tax liability is a privilege. Any organization may
choose to do what they want, but if they want tax exempt status, they need to
stay out of partisan politics. Two, the right wing complained about the
so-called targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, even though scrutiny was
also on left wing groups. The GOP beat his non-story to death and keep flaming
the fans. If the IRS is going to tighten things up as a result, then this paper
and other right wingers need to suck it up and take the medicine. The
"uproar" of this paper and others on the right is hypocritically
unseemly. I guess you also support the Citizens United ruling and the out of
control buying of elections we now see?
Way to spin there, Deseret News!The number of "Social
Welfare" organizations exploded following the Supreme Court's
disastrous Citizens United decision. "Social Welfare" groups spread like
wildfire and morphed into political fundraising and campaign ad-buying
organizations created solely for the purpose of funneling vast amounts of money
into American elections - and at the same time making this flood of campaign
cash both anonymous and tax-exempt.The IRS was tasked with trying to
figure out which groups seeking tax-exempt status were legitimate social welfare
organizations, and which were money-laundering schemes to influence elections
while hiding donor identities.Some IRS employees tasked with
sniffing out political organizations illegally seeking tax-exempt status started
searching for key words in applicant organizations' titles as a way to
decide which applications deserved a human review before tax-exempt status was
granted. Yes, those key words included "Tea Party" and
"Conservative." The IRS also used as keyword search terms
"Progressive" and "Liberal." There was no political
bias by the IRS, they were simply trying to cope with the administrative
nightmare created by Citizens United. But you, Deseret News chose to politicize
The statement that "all groups subjected to increased scrutiny and delay of
tax-exempt status were conservative" is patently false. Even an analysis
done by the conservative Wall Street Journal found progressive groups that were
targeted. The Deseret News Editorial Board hurts its own credibility when it
states such obvious falsehoods.
"what’s to prevent a Republican president from doing the same thing to
liberal groups? " Well the muscle in such activities belongs to outfits
funded by the likes of the Koch Bros who have virtually unlimited funds to
advocate for the elimination of things like social security and medicare. The
candidate who has the most funding for his campaign, direct or indirect, almost
always wins. As a social security and medicare recipient I am terrified of the
muscle on the billionaire right. So as a matter of self-preservation I
don't like the tone of your editorial.