Tax-Deductible Liberal Lobbying?

By Edwards, Catherine | Insight on the News, March 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Tax-Deductible Liberal Lobbying?


Edwards, Catherine, Insight on the News


Liberal nonprofit groups may have broken tax laws in using tax-exempt funds and federal grants to lobby against Bush Cabinet nominees and even for candidates.

Nonprofit policy and advocacy groups that opposed the nominations of John Ashcroft for attorney general and Gale Norton for interior secretary, and spent millions of dollars on behalf of Al Gore's presidential bid, have been receiving federal grants since as early as 1996. Most nonprofits, known in the tax code as Section 501(c) organizations, are tax-exempt and contributions to them are tax deductible.

Because of the strong effort by liberal nonprofit groups to halt the Ashcroft and Norton nominations, critics are beginning to examine whether their policies legally can be supported by public funds and whether any of the public money has been used for partisan politics or lobbying.

In early February, the Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative public-interest law firm, forwarded to the IRS a list of groups involved in the anti-Ashcroft battle and asked the IRS to determine whether they accurately reported their lobbying activities and whether they are in violation of tax laws.

Lobbying by 501(c) organizations that is intended to influence the presidential-appointment process is considered political activity and must be reported fully. If it has become a major part of the organization's activity, in many cases the privilege of tax-deductibility may be withdrawn.

According to Landmark Legal Foundation President Mark Levin, "Published reports reveal that scores of liberal, 501(c), tax-exempt groups spent the last month, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a well-coordinated and highly organized lobbying campaign against the Ashcroff nomination. They also have announced that they will lobby against future nominees they consider too conservative. The IRS must look at these activities very carefully to ensure that these organizations are not skirting the law or failing to pay their taxes."

As reported here in early January (see "The Left Assaults John Ashcroft" Feb. 12), members of dozens of 501(c) organizations met in Washington at the offices of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), where they launched a comprehensive lobbying campaign against the Ashcroft nomination. Staff of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and of four leading Democratic senators, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., were in attendance.

The Landmark Legal Foundation has written to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who was Senate Judiciary Committee chairman during the Ashcroft hearings, seeking the identity of members of the Senate staff in attendance at the lobby-planning meeting, a description of their role at the meeting and whether they attended with his knowledge. "The public has a right to know whether these nonprofit organizations, with your encouragement, are using tax-exempt funds or federal funds to lobby senators" Levin wrote to the highly partisan Leahy. As Insight goes to press, Leahy has not yet responded.

Among those listed as having representatives in attendance were: the American Bar Association (ABA); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice; Feminist Majority; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium; National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems; National Black Women's Health Project; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Council of Jewish Women; National Education Association; NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund; Organization of Chinese-Americans; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Planned Parenthood (USA); Sentencing Project; Sierra Club; and Youth Law Center.

The ABA was swift to respond to Levin, acknowledging that an ABA employee attended the meeting, but said it was solely for informational purposes and that its observer did not otherwise participate in the meeting or in any of the activities of the coalition of organizations that was formed to oppose the Ashcroft nomination. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tax-Deductible Liberal Lobbying?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.