Why does Media Matters deserve tax exempt status when they're cheerleaders for Hillary?
Last week, the Democratic party website Media Matters hired long time Clinton family friend and advisor James Carville to write for the site. This is just the latest in a series of moves made by the Democratic party organ to boost the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
But, as the Washington Examiner points out, Media Matters is a tax exempt organization, prohibited by law from engaging in political activity. The site is run by another Clinton confidante, David Brock, and the website hasn't been shy about defending Mrs. Clinton in this latest scandal over her emails.
Media Matters has published more than 40 blog posts and videos rebutting widespread and bipartisan criticisms of Clinton.
Just one problem: Brock's organization is not allowed to campaign for political candidates.
Media Matters is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3), exempting the organization from having to pay federal taxes. "Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office," read the IRS's rules governing such organizations.
Clinton has yet to begin her formal campaign for president. But she is expected to announce her candidacy within weeks, and there does not appear to be a clear line — or in fact, any line — between her interests and the advocacy work of Media Matters.
"There are two issues here," said Alan Dye, a lawyer specializing in representing nonprofit organizations and political committees, in an interview with the Washington Examiner media desk. "One is campaign intervention. That is, activity that affects an election."
Dye has not studied Media Matters' published content closely, but he said that the more consistently a nonprofit offers criticism that benefits a specific candidate for office, "the more likely the IRS is to consider it campaign intervention."
Dye said another factor that could result in the IRS revoking a nonprofit's tax exempt status is "private benefit."
The private benefit rule says that 501(c)(3)s "must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator's family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests."
"Even if what they [Media Matters] are doing doesn't rise to the level of campaign intervention," said Dye, "it could still result in revocation of tax exempt status if the IRS found that a principal part of activity was to benefit the Democratic Party or Hillary Clinton, personally or as a candidate."
When it was revealed that the IRS and Lois Lerner were targeting conservative groups because of their alleged political activity, the left defending the IRS because they were "only doing their jobs." No one with half a brain believes that Media Matters is a non-partisan, apolitical outfit not interested in who wins the Democratic primary or the general election. Unlike most Tea Party groups who applied for the 501(c)(3) designation,whose "political advocacy" was limited to demanding the government follow the Constitution, Media Matters blatantly supports Democratic party candidates, goals, issues, and objectives.
Where is Lois Lerner when you need her...