Liberals Who Love Obama, a 501(c)(4) for the Age Of Gangsterism
Apart from me, there is only one other non-Democrat I know of in my immediate D.C. neighborhood. Let's call him John Doe, because he's petrified that he'll be the next target of this extra-constitutional gang from Chicago and wouldn't want to see his name made public.
I hadn't seen him around for a while, but yesterday afternoon there was a knock on the back door. No one ever uses it so I figured it was the gas meter reader, but no, it was John who scurried in, using the cover of the large fig tree branches out of fear he might be spotted talking to me. My tea party sign has been stolen so many times that I've given up getting a new one, but I figure by now my subversive presence must be no secret. Obviously, he thinks so, too.
"Come in," I said offering him a cup of hot chocolate to warm up, the city having been paralyzed by the 30 degree weather and a half-inch of snow (a phenomenon this Midwestern-raised woman never can understand.). "What's up?"
He had a copy of Powerline's "Gangster Government, Rampant" in hand.
"I'm scared," he said. In 2012 the IRS illegally refused to grant tea party groups the tax-exempt status to which they are entitled. This week Senator Schumer told the agency to continue curtailing the tea party's activities. Then we learn from Powerline that,
* For the last two years, Obama's IRS has been investigating the Friends of Abe, Hollywood's only conservative group, and has held up approval of the organization's 501(c)(3) status. The IRS has asked for information that would include the Friends' membership list, which would then allow it to harass individual conservatives. As far as I can tell from news accounts, the Friends of Abe have done nothing that isn't universal among 501(c)(3) organizations that relate to current events or political philosophy. And, as far as has been reported, the IRS isn't investigating any of Hollywood's many liberal groups.
And the IRS has proposed new rules for 501(c)(4) organizations obviously designed to preclude tea party organizations from taking advantage of that exemption.
I know that 501(c)(4) organizations play an important part in the political process:
Typically referred to as "social welfare" groups, these are nonprofit organizations including civic leagues or local volunteer fire departments, for example, that in theory are designed to promote, well, social welfare causes. "501(c)" is just the IRS's designation in the tax code for nonprofit groups, and (4) is the subsection of groups we are concerned with here. There are other types of nonprofits that fall under the "501(c)" umbrella, but they are subject to different requirements.
These groups are allowed to participate in politics, so long as politics do not become their primary focus. What that means in practice is that they must spend less than 50 percent of their money on politics. So long as they don't run afoul of that threshold, the groups can influence elections, which they typically do through advertising.
The number of 501(c)(4) applications swelled after the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. As the Washington Post reported:
In 2010, the Supreme Court's landmark "Citizens United" decision cleared the way for corporations and labor unions to raise and spend unlimited sums of money, and register for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4). So what happened next is not surprising. The IRS was flooded with applications from groups seeking the special 501(c)(4) designation. Applications more than doubled following the High Court's ruling.
It is no longer debatable: While quickly approving leftwing and Obama-supporting outfits, the IRS targeted the right and precluded most of the conservative applicants from taking advantage of the rules the Supreme Court set in Citizens United. If you recall, Citizens United was a decision that so riled Obama he used it in an unprecedented attack on the Court in a State of the Union address.
The IRS says it flagged groups with "tea party" and "patriot" in their names for extra scrutiny. The agency apologized and said partisanship did not motivate the tactics; rather, it was a misguided effort to come up with an efficient way to deal with the influx of applications. In addition, an inspector general's report
says the agency also gave extra scrutiny to groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.
501(C)(4) organizations do not have to list their donors. Given the retaliatory measures of this administration (and the Democrats in Wisconsin who investigated in secret grand jury proccedings Scott Walker supporters), that's very important. Moreover, more money goes to conservatives through these groups which acts in a sense as a counterbalance to the huge amounts Democrat candidates get from labor unions.
"It doesn't stop there, does it?"
"No," he said, as I poured him a second cup of chocolate. The U.S. Attorney in New Jersey (a man appointed by the president and reporting to Attorney General Holder) has subpoenaed all the records from Chris Christie's reelection campaign; the Department of Justice sued Standard & Poor as evident retaliation for downgrading U.S. bonds, conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza, creator of a popular anti-Obama film, was just criminally indicted for a campaign violation which, if true, had resulted in only a misdemeanor charge against a John Edwards' contributor."
"Yes, I said. Even worse, in the past two presidential elections Obama's campaign committee significantly violated federal election law without receiving any penalty at all. The Obama campaign, as Powerline reported: 'deliberately solicited and received illegal campaign contributions online.' They disabled the standard security measures that revealed the country of origin and source of contributions, meaning that excess contributions, contributions from felons and foreign contributions, all forbidden by law, obviously were received by the campaign."
Election law violations and misuse of the IRS against his opponents is not all that Obama should be held accountable for, Even left-of-center constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley indicates Obama has so regularly violated the constitution's separation of powers provisions as to be a threat to the nation:
"A president is not required to enforce all laws equally or dedicate the same resources to every federal program. Even with this ample allowance, however, I believe that President Barack Obama has crossed the constitutional line between discretionary enforcement and defiance of federal law. . . . When a president claims the inherent power of both legislation and enforcement, he becomes a virtual government unto himself. He is not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system; he becomes the very danger that the Constitution was designed to avoid.
The actions of the Obama Administration challenge core principles of the separation of powers and lack meaningful limiting principles for future executive orders.
"Sounds like a call to impeach Obama to me," John said.
"To me, too," I replied. "I have an idea for 2014, in which only massive Democrat fraud can prevent a Republican Congressional sweep." (see here.)
"Let's set up a tea party group, apply for a 501(c)(4) ruling and call it 'Liberals Who Love Obama'. We'll name as officers people who have names like Kennedy, Clinton, Soros, Streisand, and Speilberg. Surely, we'll get a fast track from the IRS."
"I'm feeling a lot better," John said. "I think that might work."