The value of 501(c)(4)s
501(c)(4)s make grassroots efforts go farther. Whether it’s educating us so we know what is going on in politics or making it easy for us to email our congress members, they’re here for us. A few powerful 501(c)(4)s we are all familiar with include Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action and Family Research Council Action.
Obama targets conservative organizations
President Obama and his Democrat cronies have targeted conservative organizations and Tea Party groups in an attempt to silence his opposition. Last year this became evident as congress investigated and heard the stories of activists from around the country. The groups weren’t doing anything wrong, they just offered too much competition for Obama and his paid community organizers.
But that’s old news– the IRS wouldn’t do that again!
Not quite…the IRS is currently trying different tactics to silence grassroots. This time in the form of rule changes. Currently, these 501(c)(4)s are allowed to do many things that help promote activism in the community and social welfare, but if the IRS changes their rules, the usefulness of these groups would be lost.
According to Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell, who represents a number of the tea-party groups targeted by the IRS, these proposals would [restrict and] treat as candidate-related activities virtually everything that a 501(c)(4) normally does:
- Grassroots lobbying
- Candidate forums
- Candidate debates
- Voter registration
- Voting guides
- Issue advocacy
- Any public statements by officers of 501(c)(4)s that reference incumbents and candidates
The American Family Association has produced a nice concise document detailing the “concerns” the IRS has singled out and how the proposed regulations would “fix” the problem. Read the PDF here.
These new rules would not affect 501(c)(3)s or 501(c)(5)s. 501(c)(3)s, are of course, primarily there for charitable- religious or educational- purposes, but there certainly is education done by them in regard to voter guides and non-partisan voter registration which are not limited like the new rules for 501(c)(4)s. Who would deny that over the years 501(c)(5) labor organizations (e.g. unions) have been a tremendous aid to the progressive cause and Democrat Party as they rally around their causes and candidates?
How does this affect New Mexicans?
New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, who is up for reelection(!!), has been a strong supporter of the IRS targeting conservative groups. Led by Senator Chuck Schumer seven senators “urge[ed] the IRS to take steps immediately to prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities.” (Read more.)
In short, they wanted their political enemies silenced!!
What can YOU do?
Contact the IRS on their website.
Submissions may be sent electronically via the federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov
Include this citation: IRS REG-134417-13
The above citation will take you to the comments page where you can enter your comments. Be sure to include your name and address.
A few ideas on what to work with include saying IRS rules are unacceptable because they would:
- Keep citizens from holding their public officials accountable
- Silence citizens and chill the very purpose of grassroots groups
- Create different rules and standards for different types of 501c groups, such that a charitable organization could do MORE than a grassroots group
- Force citizens to get their information about candidates from 30 second TV ads and the candidates and the media – rather than from candidate debates, candidate forums and seeing public officials face-to-face in town hall and other meetings
- Treat as candidate-related activities essentially everything that a grassroots organization does
- Force organizations to remove legislative voting records from their websites in even-numbered years
- Treat legislative voting records as a taxable, non-primary purpose activity of a c4 organization
- Treat meetings with public officials as taxable events, even when the official appears as an “official” and not as a candidate
- Treat internal membership communications as taxable, if there is a mention of a candidate or public official, if a group has more than 500 members who receive the communication
- Declare certain activities to be “candidate-related” political activities, even if no candidate is mentioned
- Allow labor unions, churches, universities, veterans groups, social clubs, business groups and others to have greater First Amendment rights than grassroots citizens organizations (List from WND)
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