Contributed by Cultural Limits – The Constitution Club
What George Washington could have done with a bullhorn
It should have been no great surprise, but word from Foggy Bottom is the IRS is changing the rules of the game on nonprofit political speech.
When the nation found out conservative orgs were blocked from nonprofit status, a collective hissy fit was thrown as we in this country still believe that everyone should be treated equally. So, rather than just block status since they can’t get away with that anymore, the regime is changing the rules of the game. Oh, hey, that’s mature.
The Washington Post reported last week the Treasury Department said the new rules “may be both more restrictive and more permissive than the current approach.” The new rules focus on organizations known as “social welfare” groups that regulated within section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. Conservative political operations, liberal groups before them, began to organize under the 501 (c)(4) umbrella in the past ten years, and having such a tax status would allow these organizations from disclosing their donors.
No one really noticed that groups which are supposed to be “Operated Exclusively for the Promotion of Social Welfare” were into politics when it was just the political left and progressives spreading their version of social welfare. Let conservatives get the least little bit organized and work toward beating them at their own game, and WHOA NELLY!
501(c)(4) status, or a nonprofit “Operated Exclusively for the Promotion of Social Welfare” was put into law in 1959, according to the Federal Register (no other history has this date, what little history on 501(c)(4)s is available). The idea was to have a stop-gap sort of nonprofit for the groups that weren’t really charities, but were into public welfare. The trick, though, is that the old rules of needing to have a diverse array of funders did not apply to these groups, and, unlike 501(c)(3)s no lists of those donors needs to be disclosed on any official government reporting forms. This makes quietly bankrolling “public good” efforts that may be controversial possible.
At one time, I shared a cube wall with a 501(c)(4) that pushed “stem cell research,” and didn’t care where the stem cells came from. They wanted to partially be responsible for the elusive cure due to embryonic stem cells after so many decades of futility. That org was bankrolled by three people, all of whom were prominent Republicans, and very few people knew.
The entire purpose of organizing as this sort of group, is to keep the names of the people funding the effort a secret. At this time, under this regime, coming out of the conservative closet can mean career suicide and invite all kinds of personal trouble. It invites auditing by the IRS – even if the subject is dying of cancer thanks to the ObamaCare guidelines changing insurance policies.
As a group, people have power, and the TEA Party is no different than any other collective. It is a true grassroots movement of VERY smart and educated citizens who are catching up to the political realities fashioned by the left for their own gain – and TEA Party groups are starting to use leftist tactics against them. That obviously is not sitting well if the left is moving the goalposts and hiding home plate.
Now that the rhetoric using words like “dangerous,” and “violent” and “stupid” is not effective since the exposure that TEA sorts of people are in large part white collar professionals, the opposition has to find another way to neutralize the message. Since they are in governmental power, the temptation to use it is great, and they are giving in.
Sure, conservative and TEA Party groups can have nonprofit status, now here is what we the government will allow you to say.
The irony of the American government using the power of the state to stop a true groundswell of people wanting to reinstate the founding principles into the political process is almost too much to bear. But, with the Occupier in the Oval Office and his very own Rasputin, anything is possible.
However, as Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, says, it’s pretty obvious:
This new effort by the Obama Administration to limit traditional advocacy efforts by social welfare organizations will have a much more profound impact on grassroots and community organizations than on the well-heeled groups it supposedly targets. The fact that the Administration’s new effort only applies to social welfare organizations — and not powerful unions or business groups — underscores that this is a crass political effort by the Administration to get what political advantage they can, when they can.
TEA Party activists are not stupid. They know their rights and they are willing to put their money, at least, out to work to save this republic. It is the one thing the hubris of the left will not admit. And that is where trying to simply shut up and shut out the TEA Party will fail.
Now that the people are awake and onto the game, the playbooks have to be rewritten. There will be fits and starts, steps forward and back, but eventually, with patience – just as the left found their success – the TEA Party will gain more than rhetorical relevance. It’s going to take time, and the political right is full of fast learners.
THAT’s why they are trying to shut us up. Just wondering what is up leftist sleeves next.