Via Liberty News, why Issa and company haven’t been hammering this point since the first hearing on the IRS scandal, I’ll never understand. One of the left’s most persistent defenses of the agency over the past month, long before the memo came down about “GOP overreach,” is that the IRS was simply overzealous in a good cause. Too many groups are abusing tax exemption under section 501(c)(4), a provision designed for “social welfare” groups, by engaging in electoral activities while keeping their donors hush-hush. Here’s what the IRS says about the section:
The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity.
You can do a little politics on the side, but you can’t have it as your main purpose and you certainly can’t go to bat for a particular candidate. Which brings us to Aaron Schock and today’s hearing: If the left is so worried about penny-ante tea-party groups operating as political wolves in social-welfare sheep’s clothing, why is Obama’s own personal political water-carrying outfit, Organizing for Action, also seeking 501(c)(4) status? Per John Sexton, not only are they a tool for Obama in pushing his policy platform, they make no bones about it:
Statement of Purpose
Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse points to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of this program, including gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying its work, OFA will operate as a “social welfare” organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
They operate Obama’s own Twitter feed, which he himself uses occasionally to tweet. They also refuse to voluntarily disclose employer and occupation information for their donors, which makes it much harder to tell which special interests are bankrolling O’s agenda. A “social welfare” group working openly for the president, under his aegis, is the definition of 501(c)(4) abuse, and yet at the moment OFA slogs on in the name of gun-grabbing, amnesty, and other good ideas. Why? Their tax-exempt application will, I trust, be DOA when it finally hits the IRS’s desk. Right?