Common Cause Calls IRS Proposal on Social Welfare Groups a Positive Step

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  • Dale Eisman

Common Cause on Tuesday welcomed the Internal Revenue Service’s announcement of plans to limit the political activity of tax-exempt non-profit groups organized to promote “social welfare.”

“We are pleased to see the Obama administration take this first step toward getting social welfare organizations away from ‘candidate related political activity’ and reining in the abuse of our nation’s tax laws by groups that put hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous donors into our elections,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs.

“But much remains to be done. We must have a realistic, enforceable standard that ensures that political campaigning cannot become a social welfare organization’s primary purpose. A group that spends 49 percent of its time on political campaigns cannot pass the smell test.

“The agency is absolutely correct in its assertion that ‘getting this right’ will take time,” Hobert Flynn added. “But it’s clear that too many social welfare organizations have exploited their status and operate primarily to elect or defeat candidates. It’s time for that to end.”

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