Friday, September 15, 2006

the taxman cometh

Despite the fact that enforcement budgets are down and Ohio churches helped orchestrate Bush's 2004 victory (and were not investigated), the IRS has taken upon itself to investigate the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). From Forbes:
the Internal Revenue Service has revoked the DLC's tax exemption on the grounds that it primarily benefited a private group--Democrats, and particularly "New Democrats" running for or holding office--rather than the community at large. The DLC has sued in federal court to overturn the decision; the outcome could affect the spreading use (abuse?) of tax-exempts by politicians and those seeking to influence them. Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is just one character who has used money from tax-exempts to get the attention of legislators.

By that standard, there are many other tax exempt groups that should have their status revoked, namely GOP-leaning ones.

The DLC also points to other issue-flavored (c)(4)s--Empower America, the Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican Main Street Partnership--whose founders are identified with one party. And it says the Democrat-only workshops ate up less than 5% of a $4 million annual budget while 70% went for publications available to the public.

The DLC does not seek to elect or endorse candidates, it only trains candidates in messaging, invites them to conferences to meet other candidates and big donors, and writes stuff on what Democrats should do policy-wise. And liberals on the blogosphere doubt that Democrat part because some of the prominant senior DLC folks are supporting Joe Lieberman, who is no longer a Democrat.

When I was working there, my bosses said over and over again how careful we had to be about not sounding too political, because "we have gotten in trouble with the IRS before" what I didn't know is that
The IRS began auditing the DLC in 1999 and in 2002 revoked its exemption for 1997, 1998 and 1999 (all the years audited), hitting it with a $20,083 back tax bill.

And if you don't think this is a partisan, ideological thing, then why is the Justice Department hiring Nader-founded Public Citizen to defend the IRS from the DLC's suit?

If there is any group DLCer hate close to as much as Republicans, it is Naderites. And if there is anything I hate more than hypocrisy, it is when it comes with partisan goals attached...and when Forbes manages to squeeze as many Jack Abramoff references into a story that is about a Democratic group that seeks to be tax-free, even though Abramoff was a college Republican and never gave a dime to Democrats. Hell, he was wearing an elephant tie to his sentencing hearing.

And don't say moral equalavence to me, Abramoff used charities as shams-- funnellers of money from one group to the next politican's pocket. There is simply no comparison Steve Forbes. The DLC may be organized to help a particular political group become powerful, but what 501(c)(4) isn't?

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