Trying to Deflect the IRS Scandal: Railing Against 501(c)(4) "Social Welfare" Organizations… Like Organizing for Action

Complaining about 501(c)4 status without mentioning OFA uses it is disingenuous at the very least.


just don't call yourself a patriot?

The latest attempt to defend the IRS' targeting of Tea Party and "patriot" groups involves calling into question how broadly applied the tax-exempt 501(c)4  "social welfare" status can be. Both the New Yorker and the LA Times bemoaned that this was the "real scandal" about the IRS targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny, and a column on CNN detailed the growth of the 501(c)4 after the Citizens United decision, including 501(c)4s like Karl Rove's electoral vehicle Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, an electoral vehicle started by former Obama staffers. In today's House Judiciary Committee's oversight hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, Democrat Ted Deutch picked up on this line of defense, accusing 501(4)c groups like the tea party groups of cheating taxpayers by claiming tax-exempt status despite their political nature.

Neither the New Yorker nor the LA Times nor CNN nor Ted Deutch mentioned probably the most popular and well-known 501(c)4 in the country, Organizing for Action (formerly known as Obama for America), which runs the @barackobama twitter feed and owns They identify as a social welfare organization too. In its targeting of Tea Party and patriot groups, the IRS went after political dissenters for trying to enjoy the same tax-exempt status that the president's fan club and other liberal groups get. That's the scandal; the IRS targeting dissenters, not that those dissenters get tax-exempt status, while the attempt to demonize 501(c)4 groups but fail to mention OFA probably ought to be a scandal of its own.

NEXT: IRS Demanded Social Media Posts, Lists of Reading Material

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  1. You can’t expect consistency from these people. OfA was doing the Lord’s work when it astroturfed gun control rallies and Twitter feeds. Its purpose is holy.

    1. The Lightbringer is but one. His hands are thankfully a multitude, for the problems are many, with evil wreckers and kulaks like us in the way.

      1. Hey, I did that quest! No wait, I’m thinking of the Dawnbreaker.

  2. Off topic, but a sign of things to come: government pensioners getting the shaft in health care.…..4325.story

    1. I shed not a tear for government workers.

      1. Nor do I. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!”

        They all have far too much power.

  3. Here’s an idea: If you’re going to tax income/revenues, fucking tax it. Don’t hand out exemptions based on your vision of public interest or civic good.

    Here’s a better idea: Tax consumption instead of revenues.

    1. You’ll never be a bandit chieftain/politician thinking like that. Don’t you want to dole out favors and favored status to people?

      1. You’re a funny guy, NeonCat, I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.

        1. He’s got eight more to spare, he wont even miss it.

        2. Always leave ’em laughing.

    2. In Ron Paul’s run, he pointed out that if you eliminated the personal income tax, you could still fund the federal government up to 1997 levels. If correct, much better idea, cut the government back to the dark days of mass starvation 1997 levels, do away with the income tax, and replace it with — nothing!

      1. 1997 was a year for shitty filmmaking; how about 1994 levels?

        1. Caleb, oddly enough, except for the date (1989) I was thinking the exact same thing. But The Sound Of Music being Paul’s favorite movie, he is tone deaf to aesthetic considerations when appraising comparative years.

        2. 1997 also brought us Hanson, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It.” Let’s never do that again.

        3. 1997: LA Confidential, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, Jackie Brown, Boogie Nights, Donnie Brasco, Wag the Dog. As Good As It Gets.

          1. Dude, of those, I would definitely watch LA Confidential, and maybe The Full Monty, Jackie Brown, or Boogie Nights.

          2. Listed as they occur, Underrated, Enjoyable but not really outstanding, Vastly Overrated, Good and even better when watched a second time, Great, Good with bonus goodness on the acting, Good, Gooder still.

            1. What really annoys me about Good Will Hunting, even more than it being tedious and boring. GWH is what mediocre people think we who possess talent and intelligence must think and feel. No, that history book you quote Matt does not merit being in my collection of history books. It was written for dumbasses to turn them into useful idiots.

              1. I fragment so you don’t have to.

              2. ha. Zinn was one of the text books in my AP History class.

  4. The Liar in Chief’s lying liars defend the indefensible to the end. I hope they all sink together.

    1. It sure would be mean if someone sent some cases of Flavor-Aid to their headquarters.

      Very, very mean.

  5. That’s the scandal

    No it’s not. The scandal is that the IRS got caught, and it’s therefore embarrassing to the leader of TEAM BLUE, which is therefore embarrassing TEAM BLUE, so it must be attacked.

  6. “That’s the scandal; the IRS targeting dissenters, not that those dissenters get tax-exempt status, while the attempt to demonize 501(4)c groups but fail to mention OFA probably ought to be a scandal of its own.”

    Can we have this in a big, screaming neon light right outside the offices of The New Yorker and The L.A. Times?

  7. What is going on is they are trying to work out a way to exclude all the conservative groups and still let a few, better disguised, liberal groups in. It’s easier to pretend to be a “social welfare” group when you explicitly couch your political agenda in the language of social welfare. The problem is that the plain text of the law is biased in favor of left-leaning groups. They want to maintain that bias, so they aren’t just going to open the flood gates and let EVERYONE in.

  8. ‘Social welfare’ groups are those that support government programs that promote social welfare. Obviously, if you oppose government programs, you oppose social welfare. The tax-exempt status is solely for groups promoting social welfare, like the Democratic Party.

  9. The IRC abbreviation is ? 501(c)(4) rather than “(4)c.” It’s bothering me way more than it ought to.

  10. Both OFA and Tea Party groups should not be allowed to claim tax exempt status because they are both obviously political organizations devoting all of their time and money to electing politicians. Were any Tea Party groups denied? The answer, an unequivocal NO! Were other groups targeted YES. Only a 1/3 of the groups targeted were TP. Who was the acting head of the IRS when this happened a republican appointed by Bush. It’s terribly ironic that the Tea Party is a “Social Welfare”

    1. The whole “Head of IRS was appointed by Bush” doesn’t exactly help you like you think it does. It only implies that the idea of targeting the TP wasn’t likely his, that it must have come from the administration itself, which is probably the case, after all.

    2. Your argument is with the tax code then, not its enforcement. Most C4s, if not all of them, are undoubtedly quite careful to adhere to the letter of the law in not expressly endorsing political candidates or directly giving them financial support.

      If you didn’t notice, all those obnoxious campaign ads run by C4s ALWAYS say something like “call Senator [So-and-So] and tell him to stop [beating his wife, or whatever]”, rather than saying “vote for Senator [So-and-So]’s opponent.” You and I know it’s ‘obvious’ why the ad is being run, but the ad does actually adhere to the law. You can’t punish the C4 for adhering to the law.

      Do you really think allowing IRS goons to decide what is “obvious” is a good idea?

  11. This is nothing more than a concerted “hey look, a squirrel!” campaign by the left, now that this effort has been uncovered.

    Personally, I think the entire 501(c) section should be gutted and overhauled, but that is completely irrelevant to the present scandal.

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