The IRS targeted my organization:USA Today Column


#1

The IRS targeted my organization: Column
Kevin Kookogey
USA TODAY
11:54 a.m. EDT May 24, 2013

My name is Kevin Kookogey. I am president and founder of Linchpins of Liberty. Our motto is “to challenge the imagination of the rising generation.” So what does that mean?

Well, we mentor high school and college students in conservative political philosophy by engaging them with the great books and teaching them about America’s moral and constitutional order. …

In order to raise money, I filed an application with the IRS in January 2011, seeking to obtain 501©(3) status as an educational organization. The IRS processes more than 60,000 non-profit applications annually and it typically takes two or three months for an organization such as mine to be granted status as a public charity.

I have been waiting for 27 months.

In the interim, I lost a $30,000 grant, multiple thousands of my own money and had to cease any further activity for fear the IRS would target me for harassment.

Yes, harassment. While seemingly reluctant to grant my non-profit status, the IRS has been quick to wield all the intimidating power of a federal agency, demanding answers to an invasive, 95-point inquisition, including, for example, that I provide a list of my members and donors and that I state for the IRS my political position on virtually every issue of importance to me. Where does one begin? For good measure, I was asked to identify those whom I train and that I inform the federal government, in detail, about what I am teaching my students.

This is going to have some folks in the WH reaching for their gallon jug of Tums! Not only are the MSM doing stories about this at the general level, but they are starting to put human faces to those stories, showing that the targets of IRS abuse are ordinary guy-down-the-street people.


#2

501©(3)s are not supposed to be political organizations. Why would they qualify as one if they’re teaching a “conservative” philosophy?


#3

Shouldn’t they be aiming to qualify as a 501©(4) organization if they’re going to be political? I really, ***really ***hate to defend to the IRS on anything but I’m not sure a card-carrying conservative group should qualify for a 501©(3), nor should a card-carrying liberal group.


#4

Trekky, are you sure of your understanding of the restrictions on 501c3 orgs? As I understand it, such orgs cannot support candidates in elections, nor intervene in elections in support of a candidate (e.g. contributions). Nor may a 501c3 org spend a “substantial” amount (a term Congress did define) of their budget lobbying in support of or opposition to specific legislation. Note particularly, from the latter link:

Organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

The group in question was teaching a general political philosophy and its principles, which, absent evidence of specific intervention in an election or lobbying by the group, would be an educational purpose and activities which would be compliant with 501c3.


#5

Pete, I believe you have it correct. And so does Linchpins of Liberty’s founder (?) Kevin Kookogey. (Yikes! To be saddled w/a name like that!)

Plus, from your OP article:

If the government can threaten our property rights – and that is what is at stake here, for we have a property right in our ideas – and if that government threat is based upon what we think, what we speak or what we write, then we no longer have a government of the people, by the people or for the people.

We have a government against the people.

BINGO!
From political correctness, to ‘hate crimes’, to taxing your thoughts.
That didn’t take very long, did it?


#6

They aren’t being threatened. They don’t want to pay taxes and aren’t getting it. Which isn’t surprising. I’m not sure how you can have a conservative youth group while at the same time remaining neutral about political candidates.


#7

Hey, what do you know?

“Our ideas are opposed to the Obama administration, but we’re not tea party,”

So admittedly they oppose a political candidate. That doesn’t sound like an educational 501©(3). It sounds like a political youth organization.


#8

Do you have any idea how dumb your statements look in this thread when you have a ACLU banner in your signature? Why is the ACLU tax exempt based on your statements in this thread?


#9

@RightOnTheLeftCoast: That is a creepy signature you have btw…


#10

[quote=“Trekky0623, post:6, topic:39635”]
They aren’t being threatened. They don’t want to pay taxes and aren’t getting it. Which isn’t surprising. I’m not sure how you can have a conservative youth group while at the same time remaining neutral about political candidates.
[/quote]I am sure someone has told you this in 9 pages of this thread, but again:
YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!
You can be a 501©(3) and still be politically active. Nothing in the law says they have to remain neutral. There are guidelines. Read up.


#11

Then how about answering what Pete posted about those 501c3 regs? Here it is:


#12

I just did. They admittedly oppose a political candidate. They are not simply teaching philosophy. They are teaching a political point of view to children and hoping to get tax benefits from it.


#13

By not financially supporting one or the other; just as the rules state.
Not rocket surgery.


#14

They’re teaching a conservative philosophy; not a political philosophy.

Really, Trek, you’re either stretching, or pushing yourself to be viewed as dense on this one.


#15

Opposing the Obama administration isn’t supporting a political candidate, i.e. his opponents?

If a liberal organization were doing this, people would be raising heck, and it would probably be called indoctrination to boot. This isn’t a philosophy course or class, it’s a political organization that admits to opposing a candidate, and they expect to be treated like a nonprofit. That’s not going to happen.

501©(3) nonprofit organizations have specific regulations that govern them, and the stories coming out of people trying to take advantage of this status to escape having to pay taxes is sad. If you’re opposing political candidates, you’re not a nonprofit.

There’s also the possibility that this organization doesn’t have a board of directors or even a solid plan. I wouldn’t doubt it, given that they’re losing $7000 a year and only bringing in half that. I don’t think a status as a non-profit would help them even if they were legitimate.


#16

(You do realize that you just contradicted yourself, right?)

That aside, let us try again.
As Pete quoted from the IRS source:

Organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

I realize shouting doesn’t make the listener more capable of hearing, but seriously, what part of that do you refuse to infuse?


#17

Okay, here we go:

This organization that is filing for 501©(3) status as a non-profit organization opposes a political candidate. (Barack Obama, quoted earlier)

What Does “Participating in a Political Campaign” Mean?

Organizations with 501©(3) status cannot participate in political campaigns.

What is a political campaign? In general, the IRS rule refers to campaigns between people who are running for offices in public elections. These can include: candidates running for president of the U.S.; candidates running for governor; candidates running for mayor; and also candidates for lower elected offices such as school board officials, city supervisors, and county trustees.

What is “participating?” Your organization cannot participate in a campaign, directly or indirectly, on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate. If your organization takes a stand in any campaign, supporting or opposing one or another candidate, this violates the prohibition.

Boom shaka laka. They’re not a 501©(3). That should be obvious if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a conservative organization, and this is a conservative forum.


#18

You can get one like it - or similar to it - the website is just underneath the sign. It will show the IP of the computer it’s being displayed on - ie, you’ll see yours, and I’ll see mine.


#19

If the Obama administration opposes this group because of what they teach (educational) and wen’t as far as to not grant status to this organization, then that’s their problem not this organizations. There are many organizations that applied for this status and were denied it for an extended period of time, when everybody knows they should have been granted it over a year ago.

Just because you disagree with an organizations teachings, doesn’t mean you have the right to deny them tax exempt status. That’s an argument that wont even be heard in court.