National: I.R.S. Scrutiny of Political Groups Stirs Harassment Claim | NYTimes.com

The Internal Revenue Service is caught in an election-year struggle between Democratic lawmakers pressing for a crackdown on nonprofit political groups and conservative organizations accusing the tax agency of conducting a politically charged witch hunt. In recent weeks, the I.R.S. has sent dozens of detailed questionnaires to Tea Party organizations applying for nonprofit tax status, demanding to know their political leanings and activities. The agency plans this year to press existing nonprofits like American Crossroads, on the Republican side, and Priorities USA, on the Democratic side, to justify their tax-protected status as “social welfare” organizations, a status that many tax professionals believe is being badly abused. Senate Democrats are readying a fresh legislative push to demand that such groups disclose their donors and attach disclaimers to their political advertising identifying the advertisement’s primary funders. Tax experts are also raising concerns that corporate donors to “super PACs” may be deducting their contributions as business expenses.

Full Article: I.R.S. Scrutiny of Political Groups Stirs Harassment Claim - NYTimes.com.

One response to “I.R.S. Scrutiny of Political Groups Stirs Harassment Claim | NYTimes.com”

  1. Michael Lewis says:

    To enjoy the freedom the 1st Amendment intended non-profits should incorporate as corporate media companies.

    For example:

    CNSNews.com is a division of the Media Research Center, a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Like National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, CNSNews.com is able to provide its services and information to the public at no cost, thanks to the generous support of our thousands of donors and their tax-deductible contributions. However, unlike NPR or PBS, CNSNews.com does not accept any federal tax money for its operations. – http://cnsnews.com/about-us

    From 1791 to 1886 1st Amendment freedoms applied only to citizens.

    From 1886 to 1973 citizens and media corporations enjoyed equal freedoms.

    In 1974 Congress set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs.

    But they exempted the corporate media and created the State approved press:
    2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i) The term “expenditure” does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

    “The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda (see Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Univ of New South Wales, 1995)

    A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income… The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few…that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote…in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes. (E.W. Scripps).

    It is normal for all large businesses to make serious efforts to influence the news, to avoid embarrassing publicity, and to maximize sympathetic public opinion and government policies. Now they own most of the news media that they wish to influence. – Excerpt from The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian

    “Section 431(9)(B)(i) makes a distinction where there is no real difference: the media is extremely powerful by any measure, a “special interest” by any definition, and heavily engaged in the “issue advocacy” and “independent expenditure” realms of political persuasion that most editorial boards find so objectionable when anyone other than a media outlet engages in it. To illustrate the absurdity of this special exemption the media enjoys, I frequently cite as an example the fact that if the RNC bought NBC from GE the FEC would regulate the evening news and, under the McCain-Feingold “reform” bill, Tom Brokaw could not mention a candidate 60 days before an election. This is patently absurd.” – Senator McConnell

    The press exemption is a restriction on participation by 99.9999% of the population and grants .0001% of the population immunity from campaign laws. I challenge the broadcast talking heads and print journalists to explain why their audiences should not enjoy the same exemption?

    The NRA bought a radio station. But should citizens have to buy a radio station to speak or a newspaper to print their views? To restore equal protection under law the press exemption must be extended to citizens and groups!

    Every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add… artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society the farmers, mechanics, and laborers who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. President Andrew Jackson.

    Lovell v. City of Griffin SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 303 U.S. 444 Argued February 4, 1938 Decided March 28, 1938

    The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion. What we have had recent occasion to say with respect to the vital importance of protecting this essential liberty from every sort of infringement need not be repeated. Near v. Minnesota, supra; Grosjean v. American Press Co., supra; De Jonge v. Oregon, supra.[note 2]

    Whatever differences may exist about interpretations of the First Amendment, there is practically universal agreement that a major purpose of that Amendment was to protect the free discussion of governmental affairs. This of course includes discussions of candidates, structures and forms of government, the manner in which government is operated or should be operated, and all such [384 U.S. 214, 219] matters relating to political processes. The Constitution specifically selected the press, which includes not only newspapers, books, and magazines, but also humble leaflets and circulars, see Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 , to play an important role in the discussion of public affairs.

    Campaign laws magnify the voice of corporations and muzzle the masses. America has fallen to 47th in press freedom worldwide.