This site is dedicated to providing moderate-right opinions, and information and articles that counter some of the nonsense being inculcated in our young people by public schools and by many colleges and universities. It rejects multiculturalism, embraces the melting pot and celebrates the idea of America. *Vi er all Dansk nu.*
Confusion about the IRS scandal is distracting from
its importance, so that thinking conservatives should be prepared to debate the
issue. Some basics matter. Conservatives may need to share a summary such as
this article to help convince moderate friends.
Callers to C-SPAN badly misunderstood these details
when Jenny Beth Martin, Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, appeared on C-SPAN
television last week. I interviewed Keli Carender of Tea Party Patriots on the
radio on May15, who helped clarify some of the pushback and distractions from
First, don't let people forget: the IRS scandal is not
about conservative accusations. The Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury
issued a report finding that the Internal Revenue Service sharply
discriminated against conservative organizations. This is confirmed by
Treasury's Inspector General.
Second, a group's political beliefs and positions ought to be totally irrelevant. Tax exemption must be based on what an organization does, not what it believes or what positions it supports.
Whether a group teaches the Constitution or teaches union tactics doesn't
matter, it is educating either way. Therefore, the IRS should not have been
looking at the name of the organization, whether liberal or conservative, but
on the substance of the organization.
Third, many people don't realize that nearly all liberal
political organizations are tax exempt. There has been a lot of distraction and
diversion focused on whether or not the IRS should have scrutinized tea party
groups. However, MoveOn.org, NARAL Pro-Choice America, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood (which has been active in
partisan election campaigns), Media Matters, etc., are all tax exempt.
Organizations on the Left similar to tea party groups have had tax exempt
Fourth, don't allow people to wander away from the central
point that the scandal is about a double standard -- not whether people believe
political organizations should be tax exempt. Conservatives seeking tax exempt
status were treated very differently from similarly-situated liberal
organizations. Sure, some liberal groups were scrutinized. But conservatives
were treated differently.
IRS official Lois Lerner fast-walked the tax-exempt
application of Barack Obama's half-brother, the best man at President Obama's
wedding. Abon'go "Roy' Malik Obama got tax-exempt status in a bureaucratic
breakneck speed, in only 30 days, in May 2011, even though it is unclear what if anything the Barack H. Obama Foundation
actually does or has done since being approved.
When a conservative organization Media Trackers
couldn't get approved after 8 months, it changed its project to the
liberal-sounding name "Greenhouse Solutions." With the new name, the exact same project was approved within 3 weeks.
Liberal groups -- even with very political activities
-- were systematically approved, and quickly, with relatively little burden or
scrutiny, as reported by USA
Groups supporting Israel were discriminated against. In August 2010, a
pro-Israel group "Z Street" filed a Federal lawsuit when an IRS staff member admitted that
all Israel-related groups were singled out by the IRS for extra scrutiny. There will be a hearing this July
2013, after the case was transferred to the Federal district in Washington, D.C.
The IRS demanded that a Pro-Life group promote abortion in order to get tax-exempt status. No
liberal group has such a requirement. NARAL and Planned Parenthood are not
required to promote abstinence, adoption, or Pro-Life Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
Fifth, there are many different types of tea party
organizations. Some tea party organizations are Political Action Committees
(PAC's) which are directly involved in election campaigns. Others focus purely
on training tea party organizers and members on how to be effective in
organizing events and lobbying on legislation. Some purely educate about the
Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, etc. Others lobby on pending
So when the public hears about tea party organizations
applying for tax exempt status, they often imagine only campaigning for or
against a candidate. That is not tax exempt. Some tea party groups qualify.
Sixth, many have questioned whether the IRS wasn't doing
the job it should have done by asking questions of tea party groups seeking tax
exempt status. No one objects to the IRS obtaining basic information and asking
reasonable questions. The problem is that the IRS bombarded tea party and
conservative groups with multiple waves of a huge number of very intrusive
questions. And the wave after wave of questions seemed aimed at never getting
around to finishing the process or persuading groups to simply give up and
abandon their application.
Seventh, many don't recognize what 'tax exempt' means. It
means that if someone donates to a tea party group, the donations are not taxed
as income. Otherwise, any political organization would have to pay income taxes
A tax-exempt organization may still have to pay taxes
on other income, such as sales of products or services. Some C-SPAN callers
imagined that people in such groups don't pay income taxes. Of course, people
running or working in tax-exempt groups pay income taxes on their salary the
same as everyone else.
There are four important categories:
1. A 501(c)(4) organization is tax-exempt (they don't
pay income taxes on donations). A 501(c)(4) organization is allowed to lobby
for or against legislation, but is not allowed to advocate for or against a
candidate. A 501(c)(4) also can do anything a 501(c)(3) can do.
2. A 501(c)(3) organization is both tax-exempt and
tax-deductible. That is, contributors can deduct their donations from their
income taxes. It is much more difficult to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. A
501(c)(3) cannot lobby for or against legislation (except to an insignificant
extent) and may not engage in any partisan' (campaign) activity. A 501(c)(3)
can educate the public on policy, issues, the advantages and disadvantages of
various political policies and topics like the Constitution, concepts of our
Founding Fathers, etc. or train citizens.
3. A Political Action Committee (PAC or Super-PAC)
intervenes directly in partisan campaigns and does not qualify as tax exempt.
4. A 527 organization is a recent development, which
also intervenes directly in partisan campaigns and does not qualify as tax
Eighth, many are not aware of the difference between
'political' and 'partisan.' Tax exempt organizations are allowed to engage in
public discussion and lobbying of 'political' issues affecting society. That is
very different from 'partisan' activity. 'Partisan' means influencing a
campaign -- that is, advocating for or against a candidate in an election (not
necessarily just discussing policy or issues).
An example is the liberal Citizens for Responsibility
and Ethics in Washington (CREW). CREW is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, tax deductible
foundation. Its head Melanie Sloan earns $230,000 per year. CREW does nothing
but slander conservative Republicans and a few Democrats who get out of line
with mostly false accusations.
Christine O'Donnell won the Republican primary for
United States Senate from Delaware.
This was learned at
14, 2010. By about on September 15, 2010, CREW started attacking Christine O'Donnell and
publicly declaring that Christine belongs in jail not in the Senate.
Advocating for or against a candidate is the test of
'partisan' (campaign) activity that is prohibited for a tax-exempt
organization. CREW ignored Christine until she won the GOP Primary. But within hours
CREW started attacking her. CREW explicitly referenced her status as a
candidate, and specifically that she does not belong in the Senate. Melanie
Sloan explicitly said that the voters should know all this when they go to vote
in November 2010.
I noticed this pattern and conceived, developed,
planned, and drafted the complaint against CREW to the IRS, which ChristinePAC
later filed with the IRS in July 2011. Yet two years later, the IRS has done
nothing. Melanie Sloan's parents are big donors to former Delaware Senator Joe
Biden and CREW attacks conservatives. Don't expect the IRS to hold liberals
responsible for anything.
Russell Wilcox is a retired college professor who spends several months in Florida and several months in Rhode Island each year, and whose interests include boating and sailing, sports, political activism, ballroom dancing and bridge. He has an MBA from Harvard, a Computer Systems CAGS from Bryant and a BS from Northeastern. He has worked in industry for EG&G and Texas Instruments, operated his own business with more than 200 employees, and served as Director of the Computer Information Systems Program for Stonehill College. An Army veteran and private pilot, he is a published author, and is the proud father of four children and the proud grandfather of seven grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. A holder of two patents in microchip connections and a true product of the melting pot, his father is the son of a Yankee farmer, and his mother the first generation daughter of Italian immigrants who retained their culture, but strove mightily to become Americans, sending four sons to fight against Hitler and Mussolini.