First off: review this chart prepared by the Alliance for Justice. Learn it, memorize it, love it. It breaks down the entities by what kinds of advocacy each can do.
Short version: a 501(c)(3) is a non-profit for religious, charitable, or educational purposes. They are limited in terms of the amount of lobbying and advocacy they can do, and cannot touch elections. But donations are tax-deductible. This category includes institutions like the Red Cross, but also includes entities like The Heritage Foundation—which focuses on research and education on public policies, but doesn't do any lobbying on behalf of particular legislation and does no work to elect people to enact said policies. (It has an affiliated 501(c)(4), Heritage Action for America, for its lobbying work.)
A 501(c)(4) is a "social welfare" organization. It can do more than a (c)(3) in terms of advocacy, but donations to them are not tax-deductible. However, as with (c)(3)s, individual donors are not publicly disclosed. The current IRS scandal regards 501(c)(4) organizations. As they explain, their definition of "social welfare" is broader than yours:To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community (such as by bringing about civic betterment and social improvements). For example, an organization that restricts the use of its facilities to employees of selected corporations and their guests is primarily benefiting a private group rather than the community and, therefore, does not qualify as a section 501(c)(4) organization. Similarly, an organization formed to represent member-tenants of an apartment complex does not qualify, because its activities benefit the member-tenants and not all tenants in the community, while an organization formed to promote the legal rights of all tenants in a particular community may qualify under section 501(c)(4) as a social welfare organization. An organization is not operated primarily for the promotion of social welfare if its primary activity is operating a social club for the benefit, pleasure or recreation of its members, or is carrying on a business with the general public in a manner similar to organizations operated for profit link].
Seeking legislation germane to the organization's programs is a permissible means of attaining social welfare purposes. Thus, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may further its exempt purposes through lobbying as its primary activity without jeopardizing its exempt status. An organization that has lost its section 501(c)(3) status due to substantial attempts to influence legislation may not thereafter qualify as a section 501(c)(4) organization. In addition, a section 501(c)(4) organization that engages in lobbying may be required to either provide notice to its members regarding the percentage of dues paid that are applicable to lobbying activities or pay a proxy tax. For more information, see Lobbying Issues.
The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f). For further information regarding political and lobbying activities of section 501(c) organizations, see Election Year Issues, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities of IRC 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) Organizations, and Revenue Ruling 2004-6.Follow below the fold for a breakdown of all that.
With Marsh gone, Republicans had a momentary 20-19 edge, and they used it to full effect, ramming through a bill to redistrict the Senate's own lines for the second time in less than two years. Legislators had already passed a revised map following the decennial census in 2011, but Republicans wanted a brand new map to consolidate their power. Their plan would increase the number of seats they were likely to win and shrink those the opposition would have had a chance of capturing. State House Republicans and the Republican governor eventually killed the plan, but not before two House Democrats expressed their willingness to support the plan. You read that right—two Democrats were ready to back a GOP scheme so egregious that it was killed by Republicans themselves.
One of those Democrats was Rosalyn Dance, and it wasn't the first (or last) time she gave Republicans cover despite representing an overwhelmingly Democratic district. I'll talk more about Dance in future posts—for now I want to focus on her challenger, Evandra Thompson.
Thirty-year-old Evandra spent five years as an Air Force medic, and was at the Pentagon the day it was hit in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Her actions as a first responder earned her this medal.
After her military stint, the single mother went to college and grad school, and graduated just this past September. Now, despite her youth and political inexperience, she suddenly finds herself facing the most bizarre of primary battles—being cheered on by much of the area party establishment as she takes on the incumbent.
Morrissey said in an interview that he expects many of Virginia’s top Democrats to follow suit in the coming weeks and endorse Thompson in what he calls a move to oust an incumbent accused of voting against her own party line too many times.We haven't often engaged in state-level legislative races, but we have a fantastic opportunity here: get rid of a turncoat Lieberman-esque Democrat who has done way too much to empower her state's reactionary Republicans, while also building our bench with a potential future star.
And given that both candidates currently have just $2,000 cash-on-hand, your dollars will have far more direct impact here than pretty much anywhere else.
The election is June 11, so it'll be a sprint to the end. Since we don't have a state-level questionnaire, we created this one-off, touching on the issues where federal and state issues intersect: same-sex marriage, choice, and Medicaid expansion. She's golden on all of those, and of course she also opposes the redistricting plan that Dance was ready to support.
So contribute $3 to Evandra Thompson. With 100 of us doing that, we'd raise the equivalent of 15 percent of her cash-on-hand. That's some serious bang for your buck! So let's deal a blow against GOP-enabling Democrats, helping our progressive friends in the Commonwealth of Virginia stave off The Crazy.
11:54 AM PT: Damn, nearly $1,500 in 40 minutes. At this pace, we'll be doubling her cash-on-hand in about an hour!
3:31 PM PT (Hunter): Bumped! Amazing—we've already topped 150 people and over $4000 in donations to Thompson. Can we keep it going?
But by the time the 37 members of the House Judiciary Committee were done, Holder had spent most of his time fielding inquiries about Benghazi®, hate crimes, marijuana law enforcement, abortion, Department of Labor nominee Tom Perez, the Boston Marathon bombing, prosecuting big banks, the prisoners still at Guantánamo, early releases of felons in North Carolina, releases of prisoners under the new law reducing cocaine sentencing disparities, religious discrimination, racial profiling, the Anti-Lobbying Act as it applies to Health and Human Services, counterfeit and stolen goods sold over the internet, human trafficking, press shield laws, use of personal email accounts for public business, the imprisonment of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, moving prisoners from Afghanistan to the U.S., financial settlements with black and American Indian farmers under the Pigford case, the right to counsel of juveniles in the criminal justice system, "Fast and Furious," the investigation of General David Petraeus, immigration, sequestration, the timing and announcement of recusals, prosecutions under existing gun statutes, government transparency, and the length of prison sentences.
Oh. Also Holder's alleged contempt for those who voted to charge him with contempt.
Not that most of these matters didn't deserve to be discussed, perhaps even get their own hearing before the committee. But five minutes per member is not enough time to get to the root of any issues and yet plenty of time to turn the hearing into what seemed like a festival of interruptions with Holder as the piñata. Whatever one thinks of Eric Holder and his tenure as attorney general—and I've got more than five minutes of questions he didn't get asked of my own—it was deeply satisfying to see him call out the overbearing Darrell Issa, the self-anointed king of investigations, although not of the Judiciary Committee. Said Holder after some sparring:
• "It is inappropriate and too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It is unacceptable. And it's shameful."
Some moments of levity, eye-rolling and struck bullseyes:
• Republican Rep. Howard Coble of North Carolina: "Now I am having a senior moment. I forgot what I was going to ask you. It will come back to me in due time. ... Well, maybe it won't."
• Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee: "The Pew Research Group shows that 52 percent of Americans think marijuana should not be illegal, and yet there are people in jail, and your Justice Department continues to put people in jail, for sale and use, on occasion, of marijuana. That's something the American public has finally caught up with. It was a cultural lag and it's been an injustice for 40 years in this country, to take people's liberty for something that was similar to alcohol."
• Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona: "Well, you know, I guess I hear the mantra so often that, you know that, somehow this is choice. But to stand by in silence while the most helpless of all children are tortuously and agonizingly dismembered, day after day after day, year after year, Mr. General, is a—quite honestly a heartless disgrace
that really can't be described by the vocabulary of man."
• Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York: "I have no doubt, and we've already been hearing much hue and cry about the Department of Justice probe of AP records. But I think we should put this in context, and remember that less than a year ago this committee's Republican leadership demanded aggressive investigation of press leaks, accusing the administration itself of orchestrating those leaks. Then, members of this committee wanted the reporters subpoenaed, put in front of grand juries and potentially jailed for contempt. Now, of course, it is convenient to attack the attorney general for being too aggressive or the Justice Department for being too aggressive."
Employers cheat workers out of wages in a number of ways, forcing them to work off the clock before or after their shifts or during break times, not paying overtime when workers work more than 40 hours a week, making delivery workers pay for equipment they're required to have to do their jobs, or just plain not paying the minimum wage. For instance, Shaquenna Davis, who works at a Wendy's in Brooklyn, is quoted in the report saying:
Delivery workers, who are typically paid the New York tipped worker minimum wage of $5.65 an hour, face another set of common cheats. They're made to work non-delivery tasks so that they don't have the chance to earn tips, or not reimbursed for the cell phone minutes they use in the course of deliveries or for gas or bike helmets required to do their jobs. If they're robbed, they're forced to pay the amount stolen. These things are also illegal.
When wage theft surfaces as a problem, the corporate management of the chains—McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Papa John's, Domino's—almost inevitably claim the brand isn't responsible for the actions of franchise owners. The brand controls how the food is made, what the ingredients are, what uniforms the workers wear, basically everything top to bottom. But when it comes to workers being made to work off the clock or forced to pay for necessary work equipment or denied overtime pay, suddenly McDonald's or Wendy's just has no control over what goes on in those franchises. Yeah, right. If Domino's or Papa John's cared about obeying wage and hour laws remotely as much as they cared about the right number of pieces of pepperoni going on each pizza, things would be fixed. Not perfect, but the percent of workers not being paid for the work they did would would be a fraction of 84. And mind you, wage and hour laws are laws. The number of pieces of pepperoni on a pizza are corporate standards.
The proximate cause of this anti-abortion site's outrage is an online Planned Parenthood ad with the text, "Your baby will thank you." What it shows, however, is that the right has demonized Planned Parenthood to the point of fever. The hatred of the group is based on the certain knowledge that Planned Parenthood does absolutely nothing but abortions, and late-term abortions at that, and late-term abortions in particular. That the group is focused primarily on women's health care—things like STD testing, cancer screenings and yes, scary-scary contraception—is not allowed to enter their minds. These are the people who honestly believe the faux-stories about "abortionplexes."
The thought process must go something like this:
Truth: Babies suffer during abortions./Babies are ripped apart during abortions./Babies are deprived of life during abortions.
Planned Parenthood: Babies enjoy suffering./Babies enjoy getting ripped apart./Babies enjoy being deprived of life. (Just like we all would, right?!)Loons. Absolute loons. There's a reason convicted clinic bombers can still hold high-profile jobs in anti-abortion organizations, and why people who shoot doctors on the doorsteps of their churches can generate fawning interviews with anti-choice activists wondering if the replacement doctors need to be shot as well. You take one little step and you've gone from there into the realms of the Rick Perrys and Jan Brewers and that particular scab on Texas' ass, Rep. Steve Stockman, looking to defund the group by name, even if its absence in their states will harm the women of their states directly. It's a religious war, and in a religious war you're allowed to bomb things, you're allowed to kill people, and you're allowed to inflict as many unnecessary casualties as possible to get your point across. You're certainly allowed to write laws that punish specific groups for not adhering to your own religious beliefs, too. We don't call them the American Taliban for nothing.
Planned Parenthood is forever talking about how it provides birth control. Right. A baby who was never born because her mother was on birth control is definitely going to thank Mom for that.
In some insane jump of non-logic, Planned Parenthood is attempting to convince women that their babies will “thank them” for visiting their local clinic. This is no better than Nazis posting signs of happy Jews, thanking the SS officers for the death camps – and the gas chambers in particular.Absolute. Loons.
Your baby will thank you when you don't transmit an easily treated STD to them because you had it treated at one of the few local clinics that existed and that you could afford. Your baby will thank you when you don't die from breast cancer that could have been caught early enough to save your life. Your baby will thank you when you don't die in a hospital bed on their first birthday because some goddamn crank has decided that the dead, decaying corpse of a ex-fetus has to stay inside you no matter what because God wills it. This isn't hard, unless your religious opinions are so extreme that you warp all of reality around your own addled noggin.
Again, though, and this is hardly a new phenomenon: the far-right position is based on a fever dream. Reality is not allowed to intrude on the happy conspiracy theories that make the practitioners feel oppressed, or feel righteous, or feel like freedom fighters in service of a cause that nobody else can even parse out. That was always the case, but now Republican governors, senators, congressmen and other party leaders have embraced the fever dreams as governing strategy, and are holding hearings based on the fever dreams, and are passing laws based entirely on the premises of the fever dreams. Government by conspiracy theory.
The better voters in Massachusetts get to know Gabriel Gomez, the less they like him.Gomez's net favorability has dropped 6 points in last 2 weeks from +14 to now +8 at 42/34. From 33/32 to 20/52 w/D's: http://t.co/...
— @ppppolls via web
That could have something to do with the revelation that he lives in a house worth more than $2 million and benefited from a big tax scam on that house to get a $281,500 income tax deduction for not making changes to his house that local bylaws already prevented him from doing. It could also have something to do with the fact that Gomez continues to refuse to explain that deduction. He might not be able to avoid talking about it for much longer, though, because it keeps making news.
The lastest comes from a small claims complaint filed by the original appraiser that Gomez hired to estimate the amount he could deduct from his taxes on the house. The appraiser says that Gomez refused his estimate, saying it was too low, and also refused to pay the $1,000 fee for the appraisal. The appraiser let it slide until now, when the news broke of the $281,500 deduction he got. At the time, he didn't know that Gomez was getting another appraisal, and that he ended up getting the deduction. This appraiser said the changes would only be worth $245,640. Gomez apparently really wanted that extra $35,860 in deductions.
For now, Gomez is still unwilling to address the tax scam with the media, refusing to answer any questions. A spokesman does say that Gomez is reaching out to the appraiser to resolve the issue, though the candidate is supposedly "not aware" of having stiffed the guy for his fee. Which really sounds like a typical rich asshole who can't be bothered with thinking about the people he hires to do stuff for him.
With this, and his disastrous, dismissive performance on women's health issues, Gomez isn't likely to gain many new supporters. Let's help Ed Markey capitalize on his opponent's mounting weaknesses, and put this race away.