START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

How Dark-Money Groups Sneak By the Taxman


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, candidates, congress, constitution, corruption, cover-up, dishonesty, elections, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, politics, propaganda, republicans )

Kit
- 804 days ago - motherjones.com
By Internal Revenue Service rules, these 501(c)(4)s exist as nonpartisan "social welfare" organizations. They can engage in political activity so long as that's not their primary purpose, but skirt that rule by running issue-based-->



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Comments

Kit B. (277)
Wednesday June 13, 2012, 11:21 am
Image of Karl Rove by chicagopublicmedia/Flickr


Here at Mother Jones we talk about "dark money" to broadly describe the flood of unlimited spending behind this year's election. But the truly dark money in 2012 is being raised and spent by tax-exempt groups that aren't required to disclose their financial backers even as they funnel anonymous cash to super-PACs and run election ads.

By Internal Revenue Service rules, these 501(c)(4)s exist as nonpartisan "social welfare" organizations. They can engage in political activity so long as that's not their primary purpose, but skirt that rule by running issue-based "electioneering communications" that can mention candidates so long as they don't directly tell you to vote for or against them (wink, wink), or by giving grants to other politically active 501(c)(4)s. (Super-PACs, on the other hand, can spend all their money endorsing or attacking candidates, but must disclose their donors.)

Some overtly partisan dark-money groups are better at dancing around these rules than others. Last month, the IRS stripped an organization called Emerge America of its 501(c)(4) status. As it informed the group, which explicitly works to elect Democratic women, "You are not operated primarily to promote social welfare because your activities are conducted primarily for the benefit of a political party and a private group of individuals, rather than the community as a whole." Sure enough, Emerge America's mission statement on its 2010 tax form made no attempt to hide this fact: "By providing women across America with a top-notch training and a powerful, political network, we are getting more Democrats into office and changing the leadership—and politics—of America." D'oh!

Emerge America certainly isn't the only 501(c)(4) to walk the line between promoting social welfare and promoting a political party. It just wasn't savvy or subtle enough to not get busted. Other dark-money groups tend to describe their missions in broad terms that are unlikely to raise an auditor's eyebrows. But how they spend their money suggests their actual agendas. A few examples:

American Action Network

What it is: Conservative dark-money group cofounded by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).
Mission statement (as stated on tax forms): "The American Action Network is a 501(c)(4) 'action tank' that will create, encourage, and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national policy."
How it walks the line: AAN spent $20 million in the 2010 election cycle targeting Democrats, including producing ads that were pulled from local airwaves for making "unsubstantiated" claims, but $15 million of that went toward issue ads. Last week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington claimed that from July 2009 through June 2011 AAN spent 66.8 percent of its budget on political activity, an apparent violation of its tax-exempt status. CREW is calling for an investigation, suggesting that "significant financial penalties might prod AAN to learn the math."
****


—By Gavin Aronsen | Mother Jones |

Please read full article at Visit Site.
 

Robert B. (57)
Wednesday June 13, 2012, 4:37 pm
Why is the IRS looking the other way on these phony "Social Welfare" groups. This is sooooo BOGUS! They are trying to steal the election.
 

John Gregoire (255)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 4:39 am
Another great reason to abolish the current tax code in favor of a simple tax on conumerism. The Fair Tax plan seems best to me but it gets little traction with politicians...so it must be terrific!
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 5:12 am
protect life, prosecute those that seek to destroy our shared home and our fellow beings
life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love

*********** WALL OF SHAME ************
┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬
┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬
┬┴┬┴┬┴ The Wall ┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴
┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬
┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴
DEMAND FREEDOM FOR ALL THE WORLD!!!!
 

Kit B. (277)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 9:44 am

I wad strongly supportive of the Fair Tax, then a friend noticed a sentence, after reading all the sites within the Fair Tax site. It will still tax the ordinary guy and give way to the most wealthy. During WWII the very wealthy paid 94% it was JFK that purposed an adjustment that passed through the Congress under LBJ, taxes have gone on a roller coaster ride for many years. Reagan raised and lower taxes. If the US is to be the strong country it was, with solid educational goals, a restructuring of our societal needs and pay for wars past and the wars to come, then we must raise taxes. It's really not a debate, only logic applies here.
 

Wild Thang (9)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 10:57 am
Obviously more American Deceptionalism in service to American Exceptionalism...

We started out not wanting to pay the stamp tax enacted to compensate England for the French and Indian War, they repealed it a year later in 1766. We used it as an excuse to steal the country from them(forgeting Native Amricans that is) and give no renumeration to any fleeing loyalist or Great Britain...except maybe to fight wars for them..
 

Wayne W. (12)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 8:22 pm
The FAIR Tax is an abomination!

The Fair Tax Fraud
http://fairtaxfraud.com/fallout.asp

The FairTax is ANTI-FAMILY. The FairTax penalizes poor families for buying food, clothes, shelter, and medical care by taxing all the basic necessities of life. These things are NOT taxed right now (and shouldn't be) but they ARE HEAVILY TAXED under the FairTax plan. Remember this when you get barraged by a FairTax supporter that says the prebate will give you a portion of this additional tax back and you should be grateful to the new Big Brother Government for giving you anything back. The FairTax bill penalizes those who live paycheck to paycheck taxing every dollar spent to make ends meet while UN-TAXING the rich and wealthy who live off of inheritances, trusts, gifts, and old money.

 

Wayne W. (12)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 8:51 pm
Here's another 501 (c) (4) through the Tea Party, TeaParty.net This is from their own PR:

[W]e would not only do the work it takes to help insure retaking the White House and the Senate and hold the House, but also become a permanent fixture in Washington over Congress and the White House so this attempt to “fundamentally change” the USA can never happen again.

Clearly political in nature and clearly in violation of the law.
 

Wayne W. (12)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 8:59 pm
Thank you, Kit. This is an important story.

Imagine the treat we'll have with a billion dollars worth of ads with no requirement that the things said must be true.
 

Kit B. (277)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 9:09 pm

Thanks Wayne this is one of my favorite quotes from the article:

Mission statement (as stated on tax forms): "The American Action Network is a 501(c)(4) 'action tank' that will create, encourage, and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national policy."

Is an "action tank" any thing like a Sherman tank? Promote American exceptionalism? With all the money swirls to the top while we at the bottom go without - what is exceptional about that? Private prisons, private schools, no unions, no voice for the workers - exceptionally elitist.
 

Michael T. (82)
Saturday June 16, 2012, 6:41 pm
Our Constitution laws the original ones kept as tight a rein on religion as it did on organizations. The only taxes were on business property, capital gains and dividends. Now those are taxed at the lowest rates. Eventually congress passed an amendment in 1913 or 14 hoping it gave the government the right to levy taxes on citizens. After 13 court battles the Supreme Court still refused to acknowledge that the amendment granted the government any rights to tax citizens on earnings income from labor. The government went ahead and illegally created the IRS and started taxing citizens anyway. There is no law giving the IRS the rights to do this OR behave the way they do to people when they refuse. Since then republicans have been working at lowering the tax rates on capital gains and dividends to the point that the tax is minimal while they raised the rates on earned income. It is now completely ass backwards. And then along came Citizens United and a GOP dominated Supreme Court cleared the path for rich people to BUY our elections. This has to stopped and reversed. Thanks again Kit for keeping us aware of whats going on.
 

Kamila A. (141)
Monday June 18, 2012, 7:18 pm
ugly is as ugly does
 
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story


Loading Noted By...Please Wait

 

 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.