Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Hudson Institute hosts a program today on IRS + 501(c)(4) = SOS?:
“So I guess my bottom line here is that we at the IRS should apologize
for that, it was not intentional, and as soon as we found out what was
going on, we took steps to make it better and I don’t expect that to
reoccur.” So stated director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division
Lois Lerner last May 10, as she explained to a meeting of the American
Bar Association that her employees had singled out for extended
examination scores of applicants for 501(c)(4) status that “used names
like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the
applications had those names in the title.”
“That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate,” she concluded.
If she had hoped that her admission would enable the IRS to “get out
in front” of negative publicity, she must have been disappointed,
because within days, and after a very critical review of IRS practices
by its own Inspector General, the IRS was embroiled in a controversy
that has yet to subside.
Was this merely a case of bureaucratic bungling, as Lerner
suggested? Or was the IRS deliberately targeting groups known to be
unfriendly to the Obama Administration, as others have argued? Does this
episode point to larger, institutional deficiencies that require
substantial revisions in the way we understand the 501(c)(4)
designation, and the limits on political activity in which such
organizations may engage?
These and other questions will be addressed on September 18th by our expert panel, including John Pomeranz of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg and a key participant in the Bright Lines project; Cleta Mitchell, partner at Foley & Lardner, who has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the IRS actions; and Marcus Owens of Caplin & Drysdale and former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division. Hudson Institute's William Schambra will moderate the discussion. ...
- Bright Lines Project, Defining Nonprofit Political Activity
- Bright Lines Project, Clarifying IRS Rules on Political Intervention
- James Freeman, Cleta Mitchell: How to Investigate the IRS, Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2013
- Cleta Mitchell, IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups: A History, Overview and Status Report, May 20, 2013
- Marcus Owens, Charity Oversight: An Alternative Approach, Presented at the Columbia Law School National State Attorneys General Program on Charity Regulation, Feb. 2, 2013