Schizophrenic Obama Pivots To Limiting Tax Exempt Groups

Anything to distract from the failure of his “signature legislation”, Obamacare

(The Hill) The Obama administration on Tuesday moved to rein in the “dark money” groups that have spent millions of dollars in political campaigns without disclosing their donors.

In draft guidance to be issued by Treasury and the IRS, the administration proposes new standards for tax-exempt groups like the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS and Organizing for Action, the offshoot of President Obama’s own campaign apparatus.

“This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” said Mark Mazur, Treasury’s assistant secretary for tax policy.

See, when I first read The Hill headline (Obama seeks limits on tax-exempt groups) on my tablet, I thought “fine, let’s go after Organizing For Action. And there you go, OFA is mentioned. Who wants to bet that the rules make OFA’s 100% support of Democrat politics, especially the Obama beliefs, are found to be A-OK, while groups like Crossroads GPS see their capabilities rolled back?

The guidance, if adopted, would make clear that the promotion of social welfare – the stated purpose of so-called 501(c)(4) groups – does not include “candidate-related political activity.” At the same time, the administration is asking for input on how much social welfare work a group must engage in to qualify for 501(c)(4) status.

Virtually nothing OFA does is “social welfare”. It’s all about Progressive politics. Obama has spoken directly with the group multiple times this year. It is essentially a shell corporation for the Obama campaign, designed to push things he cares about.

But groups with Tea Party links – like the American Center for Law and Justice – panned the rules as a diversion, and accused the Obama administration of starting “a new front in its war against political dissent.”

“This is a feeble attempt by the Obama administration to justify its own wrong-doing with the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups,” said Jay Sekulow, ACLJ’s chief counsel.

“Instead of holding those responsible for the unlawful targeting scheme accountable for their actions, the Obama administration is determined to further limit the free speech of Americans by attempting to change constitutional practices that are decades old.”

The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f).

That’s directly from the IRS website. Does anyone think that OFA should be allowed to keep their tax exempt status? Right now their splash page is push the health insurance marketplace. Barack Obama is specifically named and shown all over the website. Here’s what OFA is about

Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to move forward the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse backgrounds to speak out for passage and effective implementation of these policies, including gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform among others. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying out its work, OFA will operate as a “social welfare” organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

If their entire purpose is to push the politics of the 2012 election, that is in no means social welfare. It’s a nice try mentioning gun violence, environmental policies, and immigration reform, but when it solely backs the Obama agenda, it drops out of any form of social welfare coverage and is strictly political. The rules for 501(c)(4)’s themselves are too convoluted and broad, so OFA, and other groups, can get away with this. Obama can start by dealing with his own group, OFA.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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