Monday, September 15, 2008

Why stop with churches on 501(c)(3) abuse?

It turns out that I can get wireless out here in Yakima for a reasonable fee. I can't promise I'll blog and yet if I can carve out some time I just might. I think I've mentioned The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations before yet today's Montgomery Advertiser "'Pulpit Initiative' distorts reality" set me to thinking on the subject once again. Also, I found an older piece from Time that I'd previously missed. The Advertiser correctly tells us the following:
The federal tax code is quite clear on this; a tax-exempt entity may not "participate in, or intervene in ... any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."
Amen! Yet what about the tax exempt status of outfits like the Alabama Policy Institute? They, like some churches on various sides of the political divide, certainly have an agenda. And theirs is even more explicitly political! They not only provide "wingnut welfare" for young folks like Tiffany Bradley (a George Mason Mercatus alumni) plus more seasoned soldiers like Dr. Lawrence Lovik. He's actually willing to list "Wal-Mart Fellow" on his CV? He is associated with the Association of Private Enterprise Education (I can't resist sharing this link to Texas A&M's Private Enterprise Research Center as an example of how the "free enterprise" set has managed to at least get a foothold at a fair number of campuses as well) also. Dr. Lovik has also done some studying with Hillsdale College to boot.

I'm all for a fair debate and yet those supporting the "free enterprise" set that often rail against taxation are getting a write off to support "research" and "advocacy" that advance their interests! The poor and simple regular folks have a natural disadvantage here. I'm not necessarily suggesting we modify the Infernal Revenue Code but I'd at least like to think the average Bubba and Bubbette in Alabama and beyond understand the irony in how the wealthy talk one game and then walk another. John Gunn

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