That IRS bias was worse than you thought
Campaign finance zealots and free speech regulators have sought to stifle the freedom of conservative organizations, such as the Tea Party, by falsely claiming they are “political” while giving a pass to leftist groups that still enjoy unimpaired 501(c) IRS tax-exempt status. As the IRS attacked Tea Party groups, it left hundreds of leftist activist groups alone. A quick review of just eight of those leftist, tax-exempt activist groups demonstrates the IRS's hypocrisy.
Americans United for Change
Americans United for Change enjoys 501(c)4 tax-exempt status. The organization exists, according to its own website, “to amplify the progressive message--to contribute to a grass roots groundswell for progressive policies. Progressives need to redefine ‘common sense’--by reasserting the primacy of the traditional progressive values that resonate with most Americans.”
The group spent $4.7 million in 2009 “redefining” common sense and, according to their IRS form 990, on “advocacy and education about public policy issues.” Americans United for Change directly engaged Republican senators facing reelection in 2008, running television advertisements against them. Naturally, no Democrat complained. Nor did the IRS revoke its 501(c) status.
The Ruckus Society (photo above) is part of the Occupy Movement--and donations to this 501(c)3 organization are tax deductible. The George Soros-funded organization’s purpose reads like a parody of the modern Left.
The Ruckus Society provides environmental, human rights, and social justice organizers with the tools, training, and support needed to achieve their goals through the strategic use of creative, nonviolent direct action.
Ruckus also evidently organizes criminal trespass:
"The Brass Liberation Orchestra accompanied a second round of the “I Will Survive…Capitalism” flashmob before leading the crowd of over 1,000 people onto the Bank of America, and deployed a giant balloon banner with our friends at [Rainforest Action Network] reading “Defend Human Dignity: Challenge Corporate Power”...The day of course culminated in the truly mass marches to the Port of Oakland to shut down all operations at the Ports for the night. Some reports say 50,000 people marched and danced the three miles to the ports from Camp, and it was truly an unforgettable experience, marching in a sea of thousands at sunset."
None of this seems to attract any IRS attention. Ruckus's 2011 IRS Form 990 indicates that it has maintained undisturbed 501(c)3 status. The form states Ruckus “provides environmental, human rights, and social justice organizers with the tools, training and support needed to achieve their goals.”
The Ruckus training offers the manual “Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution” and provides suggestions for direct action such as “take over intersections and use for community activities,” give “fake parking tickets on SUV’s,” “Occupy Bank Foreclosed Homes,” and “rip out rancher’s fences” to free livestock.
Planning illegal acts is incompatible with 501(c)3 status. Ruckus is run by Megan Swoboda.
Women’s Action for New Directions
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) is another leftist organization funded by George Soros that engages in activity designed to transform politics and America. It dates back to the era when the KGB was funding anti-nuclear movements in the West, and was involved in the effort to block installation of Pershing II missiles in West Germany. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the organization continued to oppose America’s national defense.WAND enjoys 501(c)4 tax-exempt status. The organization also boasts a “Students Action Network for New Directions” that encourages leftist students “to become politically active, to vote, and to network with other WAND members.”
Despite the overt political mission and anti-defense militancy, the 990 Forms submitted by WAND to the IRS whitewash their mission in one short sentence: "Empowering women to stop violence through the legislature."
New World Foundation
The New World Foundation, like so many others, uses the money from industrialists who built America to help reduce America. Cyrus McCormick’s daughter formed the NWF to help transform the world, starting with America. The foundation enjoys 501(c)3 tax exempt status and exists, according to its IRS Form 990, to support “community activists across America and around the world.”
The IRS Form 990 also states that the NWF seek to “build stronger alliances for social justice, environmental justice...while encouraging democratic participation to achieve real and lasting [sic].” The form details the mission of “mobilizing of the least enfranchised in working class and people of color communities.”
In 2010, NWF spent over $15 million. It funnels money to a variety of activist leftist groups like the Coal River Mountain Watch, Colorado Progressive Action and National Peoples Action.
Fierce is a New York-based organization that employs the Saul Alinsky organizing model toward activist gay issues. Its website unapologetically proclaims that it is “building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color,” and “We develop politically conscious leaders.”
Looking toward the future, as always, “FIERCE is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice movement leaders who are dedicated to ending all forms of oppression.” This unapologetic political mission is also included in the IRS Form 990 submitted by Fierce, so it should not surprise the IRS.
Fierce also provides a chart showing its organizing model is dedicated first to “Build our Power,” then “Exercise our Power,” and finally “Sustain our Power.”
Fierce! has 501(c)3 status, making contributions to the overtly political organization tax deductible. Last tax year it spent $529,713 on stipends for activists, travel and other expenses.
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration enjoys 501(c)3 status. The organization “advocates for administrative changes to visa, detention and deportation regulations” according to the IRS Form 990 it filed with the IRS.
For whom does it advocate these changes? The Black Alliance webpage states:
"Historically and currently, U.S. immigration policy has been infused with racism, enforcing unequal and punitive standards for immigrants of color. African Americans, with our history of being economically exploited, marginalized and discriminated against, have much in common with people of color who migrate to the United States, documented and undocumented."
Executive Director Gerald Lenoir told me by telephone that the IRS has never questioned the tax status of the organization. After providing this information, Mr. Lenoir also asked: “is Breitbart a progressive news publication?”
Brennan Center for Justice
Few organizations have worn nonpartisan sheep’s clothing while behaving like a partisan wolf better than the Brennan Center for Justice. Enjoying 501(c)3 status, the Brennan Center’s stated mission on its IRS Form 990 barely scratches the surface. They merely “focus on fundamental issues of democracy and justice,” they claim. The Brennan Center also told the IRS that it is engaged in “the study and solving of intractable problems of social justice and implementing those solutions by coordinating strategies.”
What Brennan didn’t tell the IRS was that those “coordinating strategies” involved bare-knuckle attacks on election integrity laws around the country. The IRS probably doesn’t know that Brennan is hip deep in the effort to derail public policies such as photo voter identification laws. Both the effort and the results of the effort are bathed in politics.
Brennan’s executive director Michael Waldman isn’t above publishing outright falsehoods or phony social science data about election integrity measures in order to advance the group's agenda and enable voter fraud.
Voto Latino is dedicated to mobilizing Hispanic voters into powerful political coalitions. It also enjoys 501(c)3tax exempt status.
The group holds an annual “Power Summit.” The April 2013 Power Summit included panels entitled “Activism Everyday--I’m Hustling,” “We Voted, Now What?,” “How to Run for Office,” and “Field Operations for Beginners.”
Voto Latino also has a webpage dedicated to the 2012 Democratic National Convention (click while it still exists).
Some on the left are defending the IRS attacks on the Tea Party by falsely claiming the Tea Party is a political organization. These charges sound like projection when considering the descriptions of Voto Latino on itsown webpage:
“We firmly believe that the quality of our future depends on our ability to mobilize and vote....Texas and Florida, two states with the largest Latino populations, passed restrictive voting laws that intimidate people from going to the polls. There's never been a more pivotal time for us to flex our collective power and move our country forward. Despite our economic difficulties and educational needs, Latinos profoundly believe in America....The quality of our future depends on our ability to mobilize today.”
When contacted, a representative at Voto Latino told me its IRS 501(c)3 tax status had never been challenged. Voto Latino receives money from the Soros-affiliated Open Society Foundations.
These are a mere eight groups dedicated to activist political outcomes. Many, many more exist. Under the law, anyone can demand a copy of the IRS 990 form filed by a tax-exempt organization. All you need to do is pick up the phone and call whatever leftist organization you wish and demand its “IRS 990 form.” If they don’t send it, call the IRS.
California, Obamacare and the young
Philip Klein says that if young adults won't play ball Obamacare will sink
Late last month, California provided new details on the coverage offerings on its health insurance exchange, set to begin providing benefits next January, in accordance with President Obama’s health care law. Liberals hailed the California news as evidence that Obamacare would be able to deliver quality health insurance to individuals at an affordable rate, and avoid the huge premium spikes that opponents have been warning about. But, as I immediately pointed out, the California claims were misleading. In a subsequent column and post, I explained why the California rates were a particularly raw deal for younger and healthier individuals, and why this is a problem.
Separately, Avik Roy caused a stir by writing in Forbes that some in California would see rate increases of up to 146 percent. This prompted denunciations from liberal writers Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman and Jonathan Cohn. Essentially, these liberals argue that it isn’t fair to focus on the insurance premiums for the young and healthy, because what really matters is that the health care law expands insurance to those who really need it but cannot get it now, either because it’s too expensive, or because they have pre-existing conditions and thus cannot obtain insurance at any price. Krugman wrote that looking at the cheap rates for bare bones coverage currently available for healthy individuals, “tells you nothing at all about the success of a program that offers insurance to everyone, regardless of medical history, and sets fairly high minimum standards for the quality of that insurance.”
The reality is the exact opposite. The success of Obamacare hinges completely on the young and healthy. The reason is that the dream of a system in which sicker individuals can obtain coverage at affordable rates is predicated on the idea that the government can corral a lot more young and healthy individuals into the insurance market to offset costs. As long as insurers are raking in profits by collecting premiums from individuals with virtually no medical costs, they can afford to take on more expensive patients. This is precisely why as president, Obama abandoned his prior opposition to the individual mandate and why his administration fought so hard to preserve it in court.
Liberals, as Cohn writes, have openly acknowledged that, “some young and healthy people would have to pay more.” The problem for Obamacare supporters is that right now, millions of younger Americans don’t bother getting insurance. So, if currently, this subset of the population doesn’t think insurance is a good deal for them, why would they be compelled to purchase even more expensive insurance once Obamacare goes into effect? As I constantly reiterate, a young American who chooses to go uninsured under the current system pays $0 per month in premiums.
There are two hopes for liberals to lure younger Americans into the market. One is through subsidies. The problem is, because insurance is cheaper for younger Americans, they don’t receive the same level of subsidies through Obamacare. Though the often-quoted figure is that Americans earning up to $46,000 (or 400 percent of the federal poverty level) will qualify for Obamacare subsidies, a 26-year old in California would stop receiving subsidies at $32,000. So, the other way to lure younger and healthier individuals is by punishing them for not having insurance. The problem is, in 2014, the penalty for not having insurance is either $95 or 1 percent of taxable income (roughly $213 for our hypothetical 26 year-old). Yet the cheapest policy offered on the California exchange would cost $1,944 annually. Would a young worker without much disposable income, quite possibly carrying student loans and credit card debt, have an extra $1,700 to toss around? And again, if that worker already chooses to go uninsured under the current system, why would he purchase more expensive insurance under Obamacare?
There’s an important moral and philosophical debate about whether it is fair to shift more of the nation’s medical cost burden on younger and healthier Americans. (Liberals would emphasize that one day, everybody will be old and sick.) But practically, liberals are making a huge miscalculation by dismissing those who argue that the health care law is a bad deal for the young. Ultimately, this debate will settle itself. And if Obamacare cannot make it worthwhile for young Americans to participate in the insurance market, the law will not be able to deliver the promised benefits to the old and sick.
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