Georgia GOP Demands IRS Audit Of Better Georgia

From a press release:

Atlanta, GA) – The budding romance between gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter and Better Georgia, a self-described “progressive values advocacy organization”, has reignited curiosity throughout the Peach State regarding the legality of the group’s behavior.

“Better Georgia, be it a well-funded attack arm of the Democratic Party or a wild pack of liberal activists, should come clean about their partisan behavior, funding sources, and expenditures,” said Ryan Mahoney, spokesman for the Georgia Republican Party.  “While entitled to their own misinformed, incoherent, and radical opinions, they must be held accountable and play by the same set of rules as everyone else.

The Georgia Republican Party is calling for an IRS audit of the “non-partisan” group to see if their full-throated endorsements of candidates like Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn, expenditures, and operations comply with the federal tax code.

“Instead of harassing law abiding Republicans and conservative-leaning organizations, Obama’s IRS should investigate shady organizations like Better Georgia.  Clearly, there’s more to this fringe group than meets the eye.”

20 comments

  1. xdog says:

    The release seems ill-considered. They’re giving credence to a bunch of underfunded guerilla activists. BG must have been getting a few punches in. GAGOP probably feel the release will counter focus on investigations of Deal’s interference and patronage, Balfour’s trough-feeding, Grifter Graves loan practices, Broun’s banking experience, et al.

    At least the language of the release is goper standard–‘attack’, ‘wild pack’, ‘radical’, ‘shady’, the obligatory mention of Obama–but that’s just preaching to the choir.

    • bkeahl says:

      Actually, c(4) organizations may lobby for or against candidates. There is a rule that such an activity may not be the primary action of the entity, but it may do so as part of its “social welfare” efforts.

  2. Per Curiam says:

    Per their 2011 990, they are a (c)(4) organization — the form was signed by Amy Morton over at the blogsfordemocracy.

    • DeKalb Wonkette says:

      Well then, Better Georgia needs to stay in their lane. Since all-things-federal are such a mess, wonder if it isn’t worth enacting a statute to yank registration as a GA nonprofit corporation with enforcement by Sec of State?

  3. saltycracker says:

    No worries – this is the same IRS that just sent $4 billion to identity thieves.
    “The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania and 343 refunds to a lone address in Shanghai.”

    Atlanta is a top destination with hundreds of returns to the same address. Maybe some of that NSA software could be put to good use…..but unlikely for bagging political chicanery.

  4. Jon Lester says:

    Having invested in backing two unproven legacy candidates as their best hope to win, I’d say they’re a greater danger to their own best interests than to anyone else’s.

  5. Rambler14 says:

    “there’s more to this fringe group than meets the eye.”

    Let’s start calling them
    Jason “Megatron” Carter
    and Michelle “Starscream” Nunn

  6. Bull Moose says:

    I was always told that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…

    Apparently the GA GOP has forgotten that and has demonstrated not only their inability to stay neutral in a primary, but their relative think skin when it relates to being challenged on the issues.

    • Harry says:

      Even though it’s likely counterproductive, there’s no section of the tax code that requires the GAGOP must remain primary-neutral. On the other hand, as Dekalb Wonkette mentioned above, if Better Georgia is organized as a 501 (c)(4) – not a 527 – then political activity is prohibited expressly in the case of candidate endorsements.

  7. bkeahl says:

    As I pointed out the other day, 503c(4) may endorse candidates and may involve themselves in lobbying for and against issues and candidates, as long as it is not their primary activity. So, you can’t be a c(4) only promoting or opposing a candidate, however you can engage in lobbying for or against legislation, educating voters on your issue(s), hold forums and town halls, and endorse candidates. The IRS is conflicted about it, but it is the law.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicl03.pdf

    • Harry says:

      Thus there’s a tax deduction for contributing to political activity, as long as you’re a Democrat. If you’re a Tea Party group then forget about it. You’ll get hassled. Wonderful.

  8. bkeahl says:

    Contributions to c(4) organizations are not tax deductible. c(3) is, but c(4) is merely a non-profit without the ability of contributors to deduct from their taxes.

    The only exception for c(4) is for businesses paying dues for membership in an associate classified as a c(4), but only if the money is not used for political activity.

    Basically, if the organization does some voter education, holds any types of classes/seminars/town halls, and other such things then they are very likely in perfect compliance as a c(4) even if they do endorse or promote a candidate or cause, and calling for an IRS audit isn’t going to accomplish much.

      • bkeahl says:

        There are so many ins and outs of the 501-c rules it’ll make your head hurt! I’ve learned more about the these laws than I ever wanted to know. First as an activist, and then with the GAGOP (some through osmosis from Bob Mayzes and Brenda Flood – she was the legal compliance person there for many years). We spent time in 2012 looking at our own legal dealings as well as those of others and the devil is always in the details. We wanted to make sure we kept our nose clean and also make sure we didn’t cry wolf on someone else.

        I will say I would be slow to use c(4) if my goal is to engage in election activities because the law is so unclear about where the line is. If the IRS likes you then you can probably do a lot, but if they don’t things could get painful even if you keep it to a minimum.

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