Chris Graham: Tea Party Charity
The rules in place at the time of the abusive IRS investigations into Tea Party groups in 2011 and 2012 allowed the groups to file for and receive nonprofit status. That’s not at question. What is at question, to me, is why essentially political organizations can be considered for nonprofit status in the first place?
The idea that groups on the left, right, center, wherever, that serve political ends can and should be able to do so as nonprofits, i.e. funded by we, the people, aka the taxpayers, is laughable. They serve educational ends, is the argument. OK, so does my business when it advertises its marketing, web- and graphic-design services. I’m just educating the public as to what I can offer and how I can benefit those businesses smart enough to hire me. Give me nonprofit status. Please.
That’s basically what these political entities disguised as educational groups are doing – specifically in their cases educating the public as to how people should vote. They have every right to do everything in their power to try to get people to support their causes and vote accordingly; they don’t, however, have the inalienable right to have the taxpayers subsidize their activities, which is what nonprofit status does for them.
That said, again, the rules in place say that they can have their activities subsidized by we, the people, the taxpayers. For the IRS to have flouted the rules in place to conduct what appear to have been draconian investigations into their activities is a serious breach, and heads need to roll.
We also as a society need to look at the rules in place, which themselves are a breach of the public goodwill.