Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2009

Abstract

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) prohibits charities from intervening in a political campaign for or against a candidate for public office. The Internal Revenue Service (Service) currently interprets the campaign-intervention ban to absolutely prevent charities from communicating their views on candidates, even if such communications are completely financed by non-501 (c) (3) affiliates. This article argues that the current Service enforcement paradigm is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government interest in preventing tax-deductible donations to be used for campaign- intervention. A constitutional interpretation exists under the current statutory framework, but it would require the Service to shift its focus exclusively to campaign-intervention-related expenditures. The Service could compel 501(c) (3) organizations to make all expenditures through a non-501(c)(3) affiliate using funds that were raised on a non- deductible basis, or receive reimbursement from a non-501 (c) (3) for all such expenditures.

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