According to the Internal Revenue Service Code, 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations are nonprofit organizations that are exempt from paying federal income tax. 501(c)(3) organizations are either a public charity, private foundation or private operating foundation with open membership whereas 501(c)(4) organizations are civic leagues or associations operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare or local associations of employees with limited membership.
501(c)(4) organizations can engage in unlimited lobbying so long as it pertains to the organization’s mission. 501(c)(3) organizations are not permitted to engage in political activity, endorse or oppose political candidates, or donate money or time to political campaigns, but 501(c)(4) organizations can do all of the above.
If you are planning on doing limited or no lobbying, then you should choose the 501(c)(3) status so donors can benefit from giving to your organization. However, if your organization will be doing a lot of lobbying or any campaigning, you should form a 501(c)(4) to inoculate yourself from any charges of violating your 501(c)(3) status.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can have two separate but affiliated organizations – one a charitable 501(c)(3) and the other a 501(c)(4) lobbying arm. Many trade organizations lobby extensively on behalf of their members, but have an affiliated 501(c)(3) foundation for charitable giving and educational purposes.
…groups with “Tea Party,” `’Patriot” or “9/12 Project” in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says. ” The 9-12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck.
On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.
While this was happening, several committees in Congress were writing numerous letters IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to express concern because tea party groups were complaining of IRS harassment.
In Shulman’s responses, he did not acknowledge targeting of tea party groups. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s oversight subcommittee, said the report “raises serious questions as to who at IRS, Treasury and in the administration knew about this, why this practice was allowed to continue for as long as it did, and how widespread it was.”
“This timeline reveals at least two extremely unethical actions by the IRS. One, as early as 2010, they targeted groups for political purposes. Two, they willfully and knowingly lied to Congress for years despite being aware that Congress was investigating this practice,” Boustany said.
“This is an outrageous abuse of power. Going after organizations for referencing the Bill of Rights or expressing the intent to make this country a better place is repugnant,” Boustany added. “There is no excuse for this behavior.”
“It appears the IRS committed crimes and violated our ability to exercise our First Amendment right to free speech. A simple apology is not sufficient reparation for violating the constitutional rights of United States citizens. Therefore, Tea Party Patriots rejects the apology from the Internal Revenue Service,” Martin said. “We are, however, encouraged to hear that Congress plans to investigate. Those responsible must be held accountable and resign or be terminated for their actions.”
On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration expected the inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation, but he brushed aside calls for the White House itself to investigate.
Many conservative groups complained during the 2012 election that they were being harassed by the IRS. They accused the agency of frustrating their attempts to become tax exempt by sending them lengthy, intrusive questionnaires.
The forms, which the groups have made available, sought information about group members’ political activities, including details of their postings on social networking websites and about family members.
In some cases, the IRS acknowledged, agents inappropriately asked for lists of donors.
There has been a surge of politically active groups claiming tax-exempt status in recent elections — conservative and liberal. Among the highest profile are Republican Karl Rove’s group Crossroads GPS and the liberal Moveon.org.
The signs keep accumulating that the IRS scandal is worse than liberals are willing to concede.
On Bill Press’s radio show yesterday, a reporter with left-leaning Politico told Press that the Internal Revenue Service dragging its feet on applications for tax-exempt status from tea party groups probably affected the outcome of last year’s election. (Video after the jump)
Here’s what Politico’s Lauren French told Press (audio) —
FRENCH made the comment that, “if you are following the rules, partake in the political process” the IRS and the government should not get in the way. Also, she noted that, “whether or not these groups were going to spend a lot of money or really be the top five of these non-profit groups, is a different matter.” Even if a lot of these groups are really small, they have the legal right to partake in the election… and should be allowed to. ”
FRENCH added that “we’re seeing kind of a drip-drop out of the White House and out of the IRS of who knew what and when, which is something I have been covering, of when was Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin first told. And as of right now, all we know is that neither the Obama administration or the White House or the Treasury, no one knew before 2013 about the results of this audit. But if we find out that key administration people outside of the IRS knew about it, that’s going to have a significant effect on this scandal. It’s going to turn it into a whole different direction.
This topic may prove that this administration was complicit in stealing this election by illegal means.
The Congressional hearings were public. There are certain elements of the media that cover Congressional hearings. The media refused to investigate.
Of course they offered documentation! Congress acted. They don’t act on hearsay. And, by the time these hearings were initiated, the IRS had concluded their own internal investigation which proved everything the Tea Party alleged.
Of course these groups offered up evidence. The IRS lied in testimony, and the media bought it, hook, line and sinker.
What states might have flipped if it were common knowledge that the IRS was intimidating Conservative groups?
Another question: When you say “if T.E.A. groups had released their complaint letters this time last year…it would have attracted media attention,” is it fair to say that the media did not, in fact, report in depth about this potential problem a year ago? If so, I would agree with you since I certainly hadn’t heard about it, and given my proclivity for political news, I probably would have.
And yet, in March of 2012 -more than a year ago and 6 months before a national election- [according to WaPo] “The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee contacts the IRS inspector general to ask how the agency selected groups for special scrutiny and which organizations were chosen. Former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman denies targeting during a March 22 hearing. In a letter responding to a request for information from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) later that month, Lerner also denies targeting of specific groups. The inspector general’s investigation begins shortly afterward.”http://www.washingtonpost.com/…
How can this be? It seems that -wait… yup- there it is, right there in WaPo- Tea Party groups did in fact release their letters and voices in complaint, and Congress actually heard, then acted on them. And yet the media somehow missed this story. Six months before a general election.
From Uncle Sam to Uncle Scam
When President Obama delivered the keynote at Ohio State’s graduation last weekend, who knew how ironic his words would be? “Unfortunately,” he told the class of 2013, “you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”
Well, turns out, the voices were right. Only now, the tyranny is no longer lurking around the corner–it’s officially arrived. In an unfolding government corruption scandal that may very well eclipse Watergate, the IRS is finally admitting what some congressmen suspected all along: that the administration was using the agency as a hired thug to punish and silence conservatives.
The conspiracy, which started as early as 2010 and may have affected as many as 500 conservative and Christian groups, used the IRS to antagonize organizations seeking non-profit status. Unlike liberal organizations, which, in USA Today’s words “got a pass,” the IRS demanded reams of sensitive–and often irrelevant–information from tea party, religious, and conservative groups to intimidate or otherwise frustrate the President’s opponents. According to Politico, agents asked shockingly private questions, ranging from donors lists (which were later leaked), Facebook posts, and media interviews to minutes from board meetings, résumés of officers, tweets, political blog posts, and even a list of student trainees.
At the Waco Texas Tea Party, Toby Walker says the IRS even ordered her to provide “transcripts of radio shows where her group had mentioned political candidates by name”–a project that would have cost the organization $25,000 to complete. In Tennessee, an attorney sent chills down readers’ spines when he told reporters that the IRS had asked him for a list of any students he had mentored orplanned to mentor. “Can you imagine my responsibility to parents,” asked the founder of Linchpins of Liberty, “if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?”
In the Christian community, several established organizations were also targeted, including Franklin Graham, whose two North Carolina charities came under sudden scrutiny after he and his father, Rev. Billy Graham, published pro-marriage and pro-family election ads. In a letter to President Obama, the Grahams explain that an IRS agent visited both groups in October to conduct a surprise tax “review.” National Organization for Marriage was another target, as their confidential documents were released to the Human Rights Campaign–whose then-president was a chairman for Obama’s re-election campaign.
The abuse is so widespread that some of the White House’s cheerleaders in the media are piling on about the deep roots of the administration’s crookedness. For once, the cumulative effects of Fast and Furious, Solyndra, and Benghazi are starting to pull back the curtain on the lack of integrity and honesty in this White House. Now, thanks to this latest IRS outrage, Americans everywhere will have to wonder if they’re being targeted for their political views and activities–in a constitutional government that depends on their participation! If we want to eliminate the IRS as a tool for political corruption, then it’s time to revisit the debate about an alternative form of taxation. Concentrating power in the IRS hasn’t grown the American economy. In fact, the only thing it seems to have accomplished is breeding a mobster mentality that threatens U.S.freedom.
“The fact is,” President Obama told the crowd at OSU, “all too often the institutions that give structure to our society have, at times, betrayed your trust.” No one knew how profound that betrayal was. Now that we do, it’s our duty to ensure it stops.