Everywhere one goes today online, a banner ad can be seen drawing attention to the fact that Senator Udall (D-Co) has resisted a call to block a carbon tax. The ad calls on the reader to “click here to tell him you can’t afford it”. The ad is paid for by an organization called Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a political non profit listed with the IRS as a 501(c)(4), “social welfare” organization. The group is founded by libertarian David Koch and aims it’s resources toward campaigns, elections and issues aiming to demonize Democrats.
AFP is reported to have spent close to $37 million on the federal election – campaigns in 2012.
The definition of a 501(c)(4) according to the IRS – “To qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(4), the organization’s net earnings must be devoted only to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.” Examples according to the IRS, of this type of organization are volunteer fire departments, home owners’ associations, and other types of civic organizations –
An organization operating an airport that is on land owned by a local government, which supervises the airport’s operation, and that serves the general public in an area with no other airport,
A community association that works to improve public services, housing, and residential parking; publishes a free community newspaper; sponsors a community sports league, holiday programs, and meetings; and contracts with a private security service to patrol the community,
A community association devoted to preserving the community’s traditions, architecture, and appearance by representing it before the local legislature and administrative agencies in zoning, traffic, and parking matters,
An organization that tries to encourage industrial development and relieve unemployment in an area by making loans to businesses so they will relocate to the area, and
An organization that holds an annual festival of regional customs and traditions.
The political banner ad calling attention to a politically partisan issue by engaging the general public in a partisan campaign spotlighting a single politician, is not social welfare. It is, instead, 100% political. Yet, consistently filing its tax reports every year, Americans for Prosperity continue to answer the IRS question about engaging in politics with a summary, “we do not”, and a response the IRS has accepted.
IRS has approved over a $1billion in reported spending for political activities by the Conservative groups, compared to a little over $130 million by the Progressive non profits.
Please check back for a continuation of this topic concerning the IRS and tax exemption and politics.