Anyone wondering what I'm talking about start here:
The Psychology of Persuasion
US Code 501(c)(4)(A)
Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, or local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes. (highlight mine)
And here's what the IRS has been enforcing
IRS Publication 557 501(c)(4)
To qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(4), the organization's net earnings must be devoted primarily to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes. In addition, no part of the organization's net earnings can inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the organization provides an excess benefit to certain persons, an excise tax may be imposed. See Excise tax on excess benefit transactions , under Excess Benefit Transactions in chapter 5 for more information about this tax.
So you're right that these organizations have been allowed to have some amount of political impact in the past, largely because the IRS has not been enforcing the law as written since the 50's. But that's because no one had a reason to break the law. Sure these organizations have been allowed to lobby pre Citizens United. But lobbying is not electioneering and doesn't require disclosure of donors.
Anything you can do with a 501c4, a 527 can do better.... except now people are trying to use 501c4's to hide their donors. I don't see how anyone can be in favor of more dark money in politics.
Last edited by Mithros; 02-06-14 at 02:45 PM.
Last edited by Montecresto; 02-06-14 at 02:36 PM.
Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy
Here's a better question. Why were these conservative groups applying in the first place? They didn't need to. All you need to do to form a 501c4 is to say "This is a 501c4" and then poof... It's a 501c4. Then you fill out a 990.
BUT.. if these groups did the normal thing and simply declared themselves to be 501c4's, and the IRS later found out that they should have been 527s then they would have to disclose their donors. So they went through the approval process so they could guarantee potential donors that they were safe from the normal disclosure rules and that company X wouldn't have to face any scrutiny for supporting candidate Y.
That "scandal" essentially removed any overt political will to reinstating the regulations required by the tax code.
To her Wall Street owners: Hillary Clinton: ďBut if everybody's watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. so, you need both a public and a private position.Ē - Hillary Clinton: "I'm kind of far removed from the struggles of the Middle Class"
US Code 501(c)(4)(A)
Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, or local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.
Now I've answered your questions. So I'll ask again, why would any of these groups file as a 501c4 when they could have filed as a tax exempt 527?
Are you really in favor of dark money in politics?