Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is helping to raise a long overdue conversation in American politics, and it’s closely related to the IRS scandal. The role 501c(4) groups play in politics.
Read his speech here, or watch it below (John McDaid of Hard Deadlines has a great piece on it here):
501c(4) a not-for-profit designation that is supposed to be used for educating people about “social welfare” but what they do as a practical matter is advocate for a political agenda.
The Washington Post has a good explainer video here, most important to know that you don’t get a tax break for donating to these groups, Instead, donors get something perhaps far more valuable: anonymity.
It’s why it took a Wall Street Journal reporter to uncover that some of the money behind pension politics came from an Enron hedge fund manager and why we still don’t know who paid for the rest of it.
It’s why the Providence Joural always referred to anything Ocean State Action touched as being “labor-backed.”
It’s why we have little idea who is paying Mike Stenhouse and Justin Katz to be the public faces behind a far-fetched proposal to eliminate the state sales tax. (Well, we know a little bit, thanks to the diligent research of Mike McDonald.) By the way, when Katz testified for this bill yesterday he did so for the 501c(3) wing of his anti-government group, not the 501c(4).