Las Vegas Sun

July 3, 2015

Currently: 107° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Political groups aren’t charities

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

In all this frenzy over the Internal Revenue Service, no one has mentioned how the whole problem stems from giving political groups tax-exempt status. How can they be classified like charities? I don’t think the Tea Party is a benevolent group any more than the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Libertarian Party, etc. These political groups were organized for the purpose of helping their own candidates, and that’s not charity. It would solve future problems if all political groups applying for this status were denied outright instead of clogging up a system that’s working short-handed.

If this investigation of the IRS continues, it should lead to changing the tax code to correct such errors. With the minority political party calling the shots, that isn’t going to happen.

All these congressional investigations aren’t to find problems so they can be corrected. Instead, their goal is to dig up dirt.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 14 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Charities may be non-profit groups but not all non-profits are charities. Home Owner Associations might be an example many are familiar with.

  2. The real scandal of the I.R.S. is that it went after the small and start up 401(c)3's and allowed the big established ones, both Democratic and Republican, to get off completely free from any scrutiny at all.

    Carmine D

  3. Citizens United and 501(c)4's are an important issue, but I have to ask:

    When legislation is proposed that would allow Americans to purchase the prescription drugs we all use for the same lower prices that people in other countries get, but the big pharma interests with lobbyists that fund members of Congress for re-election don't want to allow that, what happens?

    We pay higher prices for prescription drugs!

    Until our Senators and Representatives know that they and their opponents only have access to a certain and egual amount of 'public' funds to use for their election or re-election and all other money is banned from use for campaigns, big pharma and all the other powerful interests with lobbyists will call all the shots in Congress and get all the advantages they want, and WE will all continued to be screwed.

    Citizens United and 501(c)4's are the tip of a very large iceberg that totally corrupts our legislative branch and neither party has any interest in addressing any of it.


  4. Correction: SB 501(C)3.


  5. We need a "Flat Tax" with no loopholes. As one poster suggested, a fixed $ deduction on the front end and a fixed % for all income above that figure. No "Tax Exemptions" for anyone or any organization. You can't convince donors to contribute to your cause, T.S. Go out of business. Please! And when you do, take the IRS along!

  6. Future - "What is really wrong is the Obama IRS Machinery picked who gets the tax exemption and who doesn't"

    What evidence do you have other than some idiot saying so for political reasons?

  7. If all anyone or any group could do was 'advocate' for a person, issue or cause BUT could NOT contribute money to a candidate's campaign, all this crap would be less important.

    Think about it. All candidates and their campaigns could spend a 'set' amount of public money... and not a penny more. All the PACS, 501(C)5's could 'advocate' to their hearts content.... outside the campaign...AND importantly... they would be required to publicly announce where the money funding their 'advocacy' came from.

    We'd have elections based on issues, rather than which campaign has more money to 'slime' the opposition. If the amount a campaign could spend was 'limited' and 'equal', perhaps less would be spent on attack ads and more would be spent on issues. Candidates and office holders would not need to do lobbyists bidding in an effort to elicit campaign donations.

    And finally, if I am a candidate that supports allowing Americans to purchase prescption drugs from international sources and big pharma 'advocates' against me with TV ads, they would be required to disclose that the ads were funded by big pharma.

    If we could get that, I would guarantee you, we'd all have a Congress that represented the majority of us, rather than powerful interests with lobbyists and we'd have a much better country, under Republicans or Democrats.


  8. hombre - "Vidi, Vernos. Two cult members. They believe the Obama line. There will be a day they impeach that mope."

    I hope so, and wish they would.

  9. Vidi,

    Look at the amount of money spent by just about any candidate for Federal Office. The amounts are huge and the money is provided, in large part, by powerful interests with lobbyists.

    Many people are not stupid and they realize just how powerful and intrusive our Federal government has become. Now many groups want to band together to do what others have done; use advocacy, lobbying, and campaign donations to influence legislators and advantage themselves.

    You are correct that many people using Tax exempt status use it for personal gain, but that isn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that as this 'advocacy' spreads by development of new 'advocacy' entities, our representatives in Congress are less and less likely to represent us and more and more likely to represent those than can fund their campaigns or try to use their money and clout to defeat a candidate or office holder.

    It's a corrupted mess, and if WE want representation in our own government, we must push for big changes.


  10. Future,

    You are a part of what I said... the people who have seen the government grow to gigantic proportions and feel they have no representation, so they are very supportive of certain conservative 'advocacy' groups. Progressives are supportive of progressive 'advocacy' groups.

    I understand both sides and how they feel. The point I am making is instead of going 'nuclear' with the Citizens United decision and setting up even more powerful entities that can 'buy' Congress, we should 'disarm' both sides with public financing of campaigns and make it possible for our representatives to represent us instead of having to trade their ethics for cash to be elected and re-elected.


  11. The fix for the problem is simple: change the wording back to EXCLUSIVELY from the current PRIMARILY, and more "issue" over who or what orgs are able to claim and get a tax exemption. No one with a functioning brain believes that any Tea Party org is anything but a political org. Same with any Dem org. We can all thank the feckless Supreme Court decision on Citizens United for the current glut of purely political orgs begging for tax exemption while being entirely political in nature. All of the monies collected by these orgs go directly towards purely political causes and candidates.

    Just another BS tempest in a teapot by the Teabag orgs, but more importantly, CONGRESS. NONE of the supposedly victimized Bagger orgs were denied their tax exempt status requests...NONE. The only org that was denied was a Dem org whose purpose was to prepare women to run for political office.

  12. It would be awfully nice if the CONservative posters could settle on the actual issue of the
    IRS scandal du jour. Violations of 501(c)3? Violations of 501(c)4?

    501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, to promote the arts, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

    501(c)(4) organizations are generally civic leagues and other corporations operated exclusively for the promotion of "social welfare", such as civics and civics issues, or local associations of employees with membership limited to a designated company or people in a particular municipality or neighborhood, and with net earnings devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.

    The requirements are similar - both sections offer tax exemption for their income; both sections require organizations to be organized EXCLUSIVELY for clearly defined purposes. Both specifically EXCLUDE political action from their lists of EXCLUSIVE purposes. Neither REQUIRE organizations to "apply" for exemption. Since both sections are in the Federal law, both require someone (IRS...) to be an enforcement agency.

    Seems like Republican'ts are trying to nail the IRS FOR DOING ITS JOB! If the Tea Party groups are notorious for their exclusive support of the named causes, I've missed it. Their notoriety is based on their strong support of specific ultra-conservative candidates and political positions. It is, therefore, quite reasonable to suspect that an organization with "Tea Party" in its name or listing of supporters is probably organized specifically for political reasons. As I've said before, if you want to catch a fish for dinner, first find a body of water that actually has fish in it.

    The Republican'ts push their position with the lie that "only conservative group were targeted." A base canard - the ONLY application rejected was for a progressive group.

  13. Joe,

    You GET IT. I wish more people did. Most of what others have said and are saying on this subject may be true or may not be true, but it is BS.

    We are all sold down the river by both parties and until WE decide to provide a set amount of monies for campaigns and don't allow them to spend any more, the powerful interests with lobbyists will 'buy' Congress and we will all continue to get screwed.

    It isn't rocket science but I congratulate you for understanding it. It amazes me that so many people just don't get it.


  14. This is much to do about nothing. These groups should be closely scrutinized. If you would bother to go to their web sites, many have anti government links, including links from tax protest sites on supposed legal ways to cheat the government. Personally this is one case where the IRS had it right.