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Thread: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups[W:484,732]

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    The only question I have, which is unanswered here, is did the TP groups
    answer the same questions as the progressive groups? Did they answer the questions, or did they not answer them?

    Now if the questions were the same and the TP groups didn't answer...well that's different then.
    What ?? You mean the pages and pages of extra bureacratic red tape that TP groups were forced to contend with compared to the left wing PACs that were passed through ?

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    more favored groups didn't answer because they were never asked

    The IRS wants YOU
    Last edited by The Prof; 05-16-13 at 12:01 PM.

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    A 501(c)(4) organization is allowed to participate in a limited amount of political activity so long as it is not the primary purpose of the organization. For example, the NRA is free to run adds, lobby, and engage in politics, but we would not say that the NRA's primary purpose was political.
    Okay - I think we actually agree on the difference between the two, just weren't in agreement with what falls under the umbrella of "political activity". Just to be clear, 501(c)(4) groups can have as their primary (or sole) purpose lobbying for political issues; they can't be formed primarily to support candidates for public office.

    Thus, I could create a 501(c)(4) devoted to the defeat of Obamacare, or raising taxes on the wealthy. My 501(c)(4) could even throw support behind the candidates that champion these issues. My 501(c)(4) cannot, however, make support for those candidates my primary purpose.

    In other words, my organization is allowed to participate in a limited amount of political campaign activity so long as it is not the primary purpose of the organization.

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by jonny5 View Post
    Show me some evidence that legislators are taking bribes.
    lobbying / influence peddling isn't as simple or crude as bribery.

    are you honestly trying to argue that money isn't a significant factor in influencing legislation?

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenton View Post
    What ?? You mean the pages and pages of extra bureacratic red tape that TP groups were forced to contend with compared to the left wing PACs that were passed through ?
    I haven't seen any of the paperwork. I've seen things that people are saying were "unnecessary questions" and while some of them undoubtedly were, if the progressive PACs were asked the same questions it's not a question of unfair treatment.

    I don't doubt that there was unfair treatment. I'm just saying that looking at "Liberal group approved, TP group not approved" doesn't tell you the whole story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    This issue has been plowed more times than Paris Hilton.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oborosen View Post
    Too bad we have to observe human rights.

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    That fails to pass the sniff test. The Tea Party is not at all non-political, unlike the NRA which is pro-gun rights and education. Tea Party is strictly a political entity. Them saying otherwise is a ruse that the IRS was right to explore further. However, the IRS should not have lied to Congress.
    I didn't say "non-political" and don't at all claim that to be the case. However, the Tea Party is no more a political "entity" than "The Liberals."

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    Okay - I think we actually agree on the difference between the two, just weren't in agreement with what falls under the umbrella of "political activity". Just to be clear, 501(c)(4) groups can have as their primary (or sole) purpose lobbying for political issues; they can't be formed primarily to support candidates for public office.

    Thus, I could create a 501(c)(4) devoted to the defeat of Obamacare, or raising taxes on the wealthy. My 501(c)(4) could even throw support behind the candidates that champion these issues. My 501(c)(4) cannot, however, make support for those candidates my primary purpose.

    In other words, my organization is allowed to participate in a limited amount of political campaign activity so long as it is not the primary purpose of the organization.
    You might be able to get away with it because the IRS has been extremely flexible in approving these organizations, but I don't think that either defeating Obamacare or raising taxes on the wealthy would constitute valid 501(c)(4) groups, these should be 527's as their primary activity would be influencing public policy.

    A 501(c)(4) group could be founded on something like Americans for a Better Health Care Future which opposes Obama Care, but spends the majority of its effort educating doctors and patients about each others needs. (or whatever).

    But the real problem here is that Citizens' United allowed these groups to shield donors. Before that, they could still conduct the same amount of politicking, but they had to use special funds with publicly disclosed donors.

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by rocket88 View Post
    So these organizations aren't trying to influence elections at all? I know you want to see them as wonderful and above the fray, but from what I've seen they're pretty active participants in democracy.
    First you asked "isn't influencing elections the primary purpose of the Tea Party?"
    And here you ask "So these organizations aren't trying to influence elections at all?"

    How about we stake out the middle ground? First, organizations that follow a "Tea Party ideology" are allowed to influence elections so long as it's not their primary purpose. Second, it seems a bit crazy to assume that just because "Tea Party" is in the name, we should subject an organization to greater scrutiny than one that happens to use the word "Progressive."

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenton View Post
    What ?? You mean the pages and pages of extra bureacratic red tape that TP groups were forced to contend with compared to the left wing PACs that were passed through ?
    There is no evidence (yet) that conservative groups were targeted at a higher rate than groups with other political affiliations. The IRS processed 94 % of all applications correctly, 2% received too much scrutiny, 4% received too little.

    In order to make that case you'd have to analyze the rate at which conservative groups were correctly and incorrectly targeted and compare that to the baseline. Remember, conservative groups made up the bulk of the increase in 501(c)(4) applications. Basic math says that they'd make up a large portion of those subjected to extra scrutiny.

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    Re: IRS apologizes for inappropriately targeting conservative political groups in 201

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    You might be able to get away with it because the IRS has been extremely flexible in approving these organizations, but I don't think that either defeating Obamacare or raising taxes on the wealthy would constitute valid 501(c)(4) groups, these should be 527's as their primary activity would be influencing public policy.
    Well of course you wouldn't call yourself "Americans who Hate ObamaCare" and list a repeal as your mission statement. But these sorts of groups do exist and do meet the legal requirements as they're currently written.

    For example "Tennesseans for Fair Taxation" has been around since 1996, with a mission "to create a more fair and progressive tax structure that ensures adequate revenues for the benefit of all Tennesseans" and provide social welfare by "educating hundreds of Tennesseans every year on the short and long-term consequences of a tax system built on the backs of the poor."

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    But the real problem here is that Citizens' United allowed these groups to shield donors. Before that, they could still conduct the same amount of politicking, but they had to use special funds with publicly disclosed donors.
    These groups have always been able to "shield donors" - the disclosure requirements weren't changed by Citizens United. Citizens United made it legal for corporations and unions to spend money on elections.

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