When the IRS scandal broke, the first thing I did was to read the statute. I was most surprised to discover that the regulation people at the IRS violated and the language of the statute itself are completely unrelated. O’Donnell has continued his campaign to educate Americans, but to date, he seems the only broadcast journalist of note to do so.
…After the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling freed corporations — including nonprofits organized under sections 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) — to spend money directly on political campaigns, 501(c)(4) spending on politics soared from an infinitesimal amount in 2006 to $294 million in the 2012 election. Nonprofits, unlike political committees and campaigns, are not required to disclose their donors, and the surge in their spending has raised concerns among lawmakers and campaign-finance watchdogs that groups are improperly claiming tax-exempt status when their primary purpose is electioneering.
This spending is allowed thanks to a difference between the tax law and IRS regulations for these nonprofit groups. The law says that 501(c)(4) organizations must be operated "exclusively" for the purpose of social welfare, while the IRS regulation defines "exclusively" as "primarily." This difference has created a substantial amount of confusion within and outside the agency around what constitutes political activity, and officials say it played a part in the abuses uncovered in the inspector general’s report.
Nearly every Democrat on the panel called for clearer rules governing how the IRS determines political activity and for a better definition of how much political campaign activity is allowable for 501(c)(4) groups.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Citizens United had created a situation where "groups that ought to be [political organizations] are applying for 501(c)(4) status to hide their donors."
"The lines blurred between [political organizations] and 501(c)(4), and you all don’t seem to have done anything about it," Wyden said, addressing the panel of former and current IRS and Treasury officials who appeared before the committee…
Inserted from <Huffington Post>
By law, none of the political 501(c)(4) groups should have that status. Republicans made the regulation illegal in 1959.
Lawrence O’Donnell discussed this with Joy Reid and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
The statute is crystal clear, and finally, a few Democrats are beginning to get it that the real scandal is that any political activity exists under 501(c)(4). Now, it’s time for the rest of the news media to do their job instead of infotaining sheeple.