Posted June 18, 2012on:
That’s right folks, good ole Rick has emerged from
the darkness, uh his secret place, uh no..I guess he’s just been gathering his thoughts. But now he has a plan and a new means of getting paid, I guess. After his rather lukewarm endorsement of Willard, I don’t think he ever figured he would be in the hunt for the veep candidate so he had to find something to occupy his time. And now he’s found it.
Our little Ricky has gone and formed himself a 501(c)4 group called Patriot Voices. You can go there and read about it yourself if you want, but I went there only to get the link. Now, I was curious as to why he formed a 501(c)4 instead of what I’ve seen all the time which is a 501(c)3. I always thought those were the gold standard when you wanted to go about founding or forming something. Apparently though, not so much. I did some checking on these things here so I could find the differences between them and there are some.
501(c)4s are tax-exempt non-profit organizations. More specifically, according to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), 501(c)(4)s are:
- “civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare,
- “or local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality,
- “and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.”
Umm..okay, but that doesn’t seem to add up too well with what Santorum says it’s all about which is:
it will focus on the themes the former Pennsylvania senator stressed in his campaign: support for traditional families and the right-to-life movement; preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons; and restoring the nation’s manufacturing base.
Well don’t see anything especially civic “league-like” here but I get it that it can fit in with the social welfare stuff although I doubt Santorum wants to go anywhere near the term “social welfare”. So maybe it’s got something to do with bullet #2 above: limited to the employees of a designated person? Hmmm…maybe. This article says [it] “is being funded by Santorum’s biggest donors, including Foster Friess, a wealthy conservative contributor who backed Santorum in 2012″. Well, there you go. I think Foster Freiss has backed just about every Republican who was running for the nomination and who, by the way, thinks contributions to 501c(4)s should be able to be made privately.
But let’s see what else there may be about these 501c(4) things that makes the Republicans like them so much. Going back to my link above I see:
- 501(c)3s are limited in the amount of time and/or money they can put into lobbying.
- 501(c)4s can do an unlimited amount of lobbying (but then become ineligible to receive federal monies like grants).
Well there ya go. The c(4) thingies can spend tons of money
buying uh influencing folks. No wonder the Repubs like them so much. Now sounding like a late night infomercial, WAIT!! THERE’S MORE!!!
You just knew there had to be another reason the Repubs like these 501(c)4′s now didn’t you? And here it is:
- 501(c)3s cannot in any way support or oppose anyone running for public office, though they may be involved in political campaigns by way of non-partisan public forums, voter registration drives, etc.
- 501(c)4s can engage in political campaign activity, so long as this is consistent with the organization’s purpose and is not the organization’s primary activity.
Aha! That’s the ticket! Now the rules say is not the organization’s primary activity. Now between you, me and the lamppost, I have a sneaky suspicion that that is exactly what the Republican 501(c)4s are doing, but I doubt you’ll see the IRS clamp down on them. The Repubs will find a way to shell out a few bucks on something related to their being and it will be just enough to get them by the laws and regulations.
Mother Jones has an article on these groups and calls it “dark money” that is raised and spent. As M.J. says:
Other dark-money groups tend to describe their missions in broad terms that are unlikely to raise an auditor’s eyebrows. But how they spend their money suggests their actual agendas.
So what does all of it have to do with lil Ricky Santorum? Well he’s following in the footsteps of the current presumed Republican nominee.
In setting up a political action committee, Santorum is emulating the path taken by Romney himself in 2008. When Romney quit that campaign — he announced it at a C-PAC event in Washington — he endorsed John McCain, and campaigned hard for him after McCain secured the nomination. When McCain lost to Barack Obama, Romney kept on raising money, endorsing other Republican candidates, and gathering chits within the GOP during the 2010 midterms.
This is the model Santorum evidently will be attempting to follow, as some of his biggest financial backers believe that by emerging as the strongest conservative alternative to Romney, Santorum is well-positioned for 2016.
That sounds an awful lot like Santorum doesn’t think Romney will win but ya never know, and I don’t think those chits have an expiration date on them.
This is an open thread.
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