Friday, March 9, 2012
Following up on yesterday's post, IRS May Out Donors to Tea Party, Other 501(c)(4) Groups: New York Times editorial, The IRS Does Its Job:
Taxpayers should be encouraged by complaints from Tea Party chapters applying for nonprofit tax status at being asked by the IRS to prove they are “social welfare” organizations and not the political activists they so obviously are. Tea Party supporters claim they are being politically harassed with extensive IRS questionnaires. But the service properly contends that it must ensure that these groups are “primarily” engaged in social welfare, not political campaigning, to merit tax exemption under § 501(c)(4).
Such IRS inquiries are long overdue and should be applied across the board to the growing number of organizations, allied with the major political parties, that are also ludicrously posing as “social welfare” groups. Legitimate social welfare organizations are allowed limited political activity. But these political offshoots are using that tax status in a transparent ploy to keep big donors secret while funneling the money to campaigns. Chief among these groups are American Crossroads, the campaign machine created by Republican guru Karl Rove, and Priorities USA, the Democratic counterpart founded by former White House aides, now openly encouraged by President Obama as he runs for re-election. ...
All these groups should be operating as political organizations required to disclose their donors under the law. Blatant abuses of tax law and common sense are part of the laissez-faire dynamic that is driving the 2012 campaigns. The IRS must not flinch from its duty to enforce the tax code and root out political operatives who are abusing the law and conning taxpayers and voters.