USAToday: IRS gave liberals a pass; Tea Party groups put on holdIn the 27 months that the Internal Revenue Service put a hold on all Tea Party applications for non-profit status, it approved applications from similar liberal groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with obviously liberal names were approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like "Progress" or "Progressive," these groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
What is lost in all of this; why this is no where near the scandal that people are making it out be is that the 501(c)4 status is for groups who's PRIMARY purpose is promoting social welfare, not a political agenda. Specifically, it is appropriate for "Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees". The IRS has a duty to screen those that are political organizations from the 501(c)4 applicant pool, as that status is not appropriate for them.
501(c) organization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The controversy deals with 2009 to 2011, when the tea party was just getting going. Many, do I dare say most, of the new groups formed at that time were tea party groups. Hence, its just intelligent triage, which you want your IRS do be doing, to put the tea party applications in a separate pile, because they substantially political organizations that are walking a fine line in qualifying to be a 501(c)(4). In much the same way, claiming a home office as a business expense will get your tax return looked at (not necessarily audited, but looked at more closely). There is nothing political about this; it is just smart business.
There were not a lot of new left-wing political groups being formed during this period. The economy was slow in 2009. The environment was hardly conducive to starting a new new business or a new health and welfare organization. Moreover, the nature of many left-wing groups, such as environmental groups or social welfare advocacy groups, better fit the 501(c)(4) definition as their purpose usually better fits the definition of the 501(c)(4) (social matters first; political advocacy second)....
Moreover, the law (from Wikipedia article cited above) "...allows Section 501(c)(4) organizations to self-declare and hold themselves out as tax-exempt; they do not have to obtain any approval from the Internal Revenue Service, though they may....."... and no group was actually turned down. No harm; no foul!
This is yet another controversy that the Cons have sunk their teeth into thinking there is something there; but when the fog of political war clears people will realize this is much to do about little.
Last edited by upsideguy; 05-19-13 at 11:04 AM.