Posts Tagged IRS

Angela Giron, IRS Beneficiary

Well, what do we have here?

Colroado State Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo), facing a recall from voters in her district over her gun control votes in this year’s state legislature, has gotten considerably monetary help from outside sources in her bid to stay in office, the Pueblo Chieftain reports:

Giron, a Pueblo Democrat, is the target of a recall drive by Pueblo-area gun rights supporters and Republicans. Her defense campaign, called Puebloans for Angela, received a $35,000 contribution from the Sixteen Thirty Fund in Washington; a $20,000 contribution from a Denver organization called Citizens for Integrity; and a $15,000 contribution from a Denver group called Mainstream Colorado. (emphasis added – ed.)

The Sixteen Thirty Fund has been organized as a 501(c)4 since Feb. 16 of 2009 (we wonder how long it had to wait for IRS approval), according to its 2009 IRS Form 990, and its mission, as state on Page 2 of that documents is:

Sixteen Thirty Fund operates exclusively for the purpose of promoting social welfare, including, but not limited to, providing public education on and conducting advocacy regarding progressive policies.

The fund operated as a collector and distributor of over $3.3 million for various left-wing causes during 2009, including $52,000 to our very own Progress Now here in Colorado.  It won’t come as any surprise that most of those groups, including ones that are clearly political organizations, are also organized as 501(c)4s.

Now, I don’t have any problem with these or any other groups organizing as 501(c)4s, if the law allows that.  But it’s telling that Democrats have decided to turn the various IRS hearings into a trial of the tax law, one which they were perfectly happy to take full advantage of as long as the other side didn’t.  Having kept Tea Party, conservative, and libertarian groups on the sidelines through two election cycles, they can now afford to be outraged at unfair treatment, and call for a revision of the law.

And of course, there’s this, from Senate President John Morse, fighting his own recall battle:


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Anonymity Matters

During the IRS hearings, a recurring Democrat theme was that the IRS’s interpretation of 501(c)4 status, combined with the Citizens United ruling opened the door to political corruption by allowing – gasp! – anonymous political speech.  The argument, of course, is that you need to discount the speech based on the speaker.

This claim ignores the fact that there’s nothing inherently corrupt about anonymous speech, or in the Supreme Court’s interpretation, the anonymous funding of speech.  As many have pointed out, anonymous speech on substantive, even existential, political issues goes back to the founding days of the Republic.  The most famous example is the Federalist Papers, but even if you accept the notion that people didn’t know who Publius was the way that people today don’t know who Richard Bachman is, there are other contemporaneous examples.  Pauline Maier, in her fine survey of the Constitution’s ratification, Ratification, cites numerous anonymous anti-federalist writers, including a few that historians still haven’t been able to identify.

Unfortunately, for Democrats, a lack of anonymity is a feature, not a bug.  Via Instapundit, Kim Strassel’s column in today’s Wall Street Journal explains why:

In early August 2008, the New York Times trumpeted the creation of a left-wing group (a 501(c)4) called Accountable America. Founded by Obama supporter and liberal activist Tom Mattzie, the group—as the story explained—would start by sending “warning” letters to 10,000 GOP donors, “hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” The letters would alert “right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.” As Mr. Mattzie told Mother Jones: “We’re going to put them at risk.” (emphasis added)

In an perfect example of blaming the victim, some Democrats would like to change the story from one of Democratic corruption of the IRS to the imaginary corruption of the political process by the Tea Party groups who found themselves on the wrong end of a partisan IRS proctological examination.

The Democrats argued that the sole purpose of claiming 501(c)4 status rather than forming a 527 was to keep donor lists secret.  There’s absolutely no evidence that this is true, but given Mattzie’s manifest intent to make Republican and conservative donors suffer personally for their political speech, could you blame conservative groups if it were?

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