NAACP Ready to Fight IRS Claim of Improper Political Campaign Intervention

by Lucy Kalnes April 15 2006, 02:21
I. Introduction

"The NAACP has always been nonpartisan, but that doesn't mean we're noncritical. For as long as we've existed, whether Democrats of Republicans have occupied the White House, we've spoken truth to power."[1] With these words, Chairman Julian Bond, head of the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), began the keynote address of the organization's 95th annual convention in Philadelphia in July of 2004. He went on: "We must guarantee the irregularities, suppression, nullification and outright theft of black votes that happened on election day 2000 never, ever happen again . . . You cannot win this race by ignoring race . . . We know that if whiles and nonwhites vote in the same percentages as they did in 2000, Bush will be re-defeated by 3 million votes."[2]

Soon after this speech was made, and its contents made publicly available on the official website for the NAACP, the IRS began an investigation claiming that the speech made by Bond in his capacity as Chairman constituted intervention in a political campaign, an activity prohibited for organizations operating as charitable under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.[3][4] Intervention in a political campaign can carry with it a penalty as high as complete revocation of tax-exempt status. At the very least, a charitable organization which has intervened in a political campaign must pay an excise tax on the amount of money spent by the organization on the activity.[5] [More]



State-Sponsored Investment Tax Incentives: Classic Competition, or Constitutionally Constrained?

by Lucy Kalnes March 18 2006, 02:24
I. Introduction

The Supreme Court heard arguments on March 1st concerning the constitutionality of an Ohio investment tax credit offered to the DaimlerChrysler Corporation. The credit, entitling DaimlerChrysler to a "ten-year 100 percent property tax exemption, as well as an investment tax credit of 13.5% against state corporate franchise tax for certain qualifying investments," is meant to encourage a $1.2 billion Jeep plant project in Toledo.[1] The investment tax credit is being attacked on the grounds that, as a state action, it unconstitutionally burdens interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause.[2] This sort of tax incentive is hardly anomalous; indeed, 49 states offer similar tax incentives for the purpose of encouraging in-state economic activity, thereby benefiting the citizens of the state.[3] Given that attracting valuable in-state commercial growth is a fixture of policy in most states, a ruling consistent with the claim of unconstitutionality from the nation's highest Court could have substantial repercussions. [More]

The Windfall Profit Tax - A Legislator's Hamster Wheel

by Lucy Kalnes February 25 2006, 02:26
I. Introduction

Surprise! In 2005, Big Oil[1] again turned one of the larger profits it has seen in recent years, with companies like Exxon Mobil boasting fourth quarter numbers 27% greater than last year's profits (which, by the way, were nothing to sneeze at).[2][3] And why shouldn't we be surprised? After more than a year of paying a sky-high premium at the pump and in the home, it is plain to see that the oil industry is not sharing the burden of the high price of fuel with the consumer. Led by Senate Democrats, a bill has been proposed to impose a one-time-only $5 billion windfall tax on big oil to help offset the country's more than $300 billion deficit.[4] [More]



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