IRS Turns Down 501(c)(4) Applications of Three Groups

Print Share on LinkedIn More

July 19, 2011; Source: New York Times | The nation’s intrepid reporter dedicated to covering the nonprofit sector, Stephanie Strom of the New York Times, wrote this week that the Internal Revenue Service earlier this year rejected the tax exemption applications of three potential 501(c)(4) organizations. The IRS letters tell the applicants that, “You are not operated primarily to promote social welfare because your activities are primarily for the benefit of a political party and a private group of individuals, rather than the community as a whole . . . Accordingly, you do not qualify for exemption.”

Typical for IRS actions, the letters are so heavily redacted that information about the names of the organizations, the political parties they might have been associated with, or any other facts and circumstances is missing.  So, we ask NPQ Newswire readers, do you know of any putative 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that might have had their applications booted by the IRS?  Let us know if you think you know. 

There is a good reason to ask. Without specific knowledge of the circumstances involved, it is impossible to know whether these IRS rejections were simply run-of-the-mill, pro forma actions or evidence of a new or different attentiveness to the post-Citizens United dynamics of newly energized (c)(4)s.—Rick Cohen

  • Paul Higgins

    The Times now reports that the organizations were all affiliates of Emerge America, which says its goal is “to increase the number of Democratic women in public office.”


  • rick cohen

    Thanks for the link, Paul. I guess the mission of focusing on Democratic women sort of establishes the basis for the IRS action. But I do hope that NPQ Newswire readers keep an eye on the (c)(4) proliferation since, in the public’s eye, the distinction between (c)(3)s and (c)(4)s is immaterial, that they’re both “nonprofits.”