Rob Hamilton: Name’s the thing

May 16, 2013 

Name’s the thing

I see the nonstop panic that has gripped the right wing in this country ever since the nomination of Barack Obama as Democratic candidate for president has reached new depths of fantastical paranoia. Not content with wasting time and tax dollars continuing to investigate a nonexistent “cover-up,” now they play the impeachment card because a few IRS employees in Cincinnati followed policy guidelines a little too zealously.

Let’s review: The primary organizational function of groups seeking a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status is clearly designated as “social welfare,” not “politics.” If you use a highly politicized name for your “social welfare” organization, the chances are higher that your application will be looked at more closely than one from a group with a less-polarizing name. Regardless, of the 75 groups that were examined more closely than others, not a single one of them was denied tax-exempt status.

The only “scandal” here is the sad fact that Citizens United has corrupted the system so grotesquely that maintaining IRS policy is called a violation of the First Amendment.

If you want the tax-exempt status granted to nonpolitical organizations, you might think twice about giving yourself a politically charged name. I’m just saying.

Rob Hamilton

Chapel Hill

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