So, Americans United has reached out to the Internal Revenue Service about clarifying rules about political activity among 501 (c) (3) and 501 (c) (4) groups …
During the uproar over the supposed IRS targeting of tea party groups, conservative Christian groups tried to claim that they, too, were targeted by the IRS for their religious beliefs. IRS movement on the audit procedures will likely trigger more complaints from conservative legal and religious groups that the agency is attempt to stifle their free speech. Through efforts such as Pulpit Freedom Sunday, pastors openly flout the law. Enforcement of the rule, and the revocation of a partipating church’s tax-exempt status, though, could trigger a constitutional challenge to it.
Read more at Religion Dispatches.
An influential US lobbying network of Republican politicians and big businesses is seeking to avert a looming funding crisis by appealing to major donors that have abandoned it over the past two years following criticism of its policy on gun laws.
The Guardian has learned that the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which shapes and promotes legislation at state level across the US, has identified more than 40 lapsed corporate members it wants to attract back into the fold under a scheme referred to in its documents as the “Prodigal Son Project”.
The target firms include commercial giants such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald’s and Walmart, all of which cut ties with the group following the furore over the killing of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012.
Alec was embroiled in the controversy surrounding Florida’s 2005 “stand-your-ground” law under which George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin, initially claimed self-defence. The Florida law was picked up by Alec, and, working in partnership with the National Rifle Association, used as a template for one of its "model bills", which was then taken up by other states across the country.
The Guardian has learned that by Alec’s own reckoning the network has lost almost 400 state legislators from its membership over the past two years, as well as more than 60 corporations that form the core of its funding. In the first six months of this year it suffered a hole in its budget of more than a third of its projected income.
The reference to the Prodigal Son Project is just one of many revelations contained in a batch of internal Alec documents that have been obtained by the Guardian. The documents, prepared for its most recent annual board meeting in Chicago in August, cast light on the inner workings of the group.
They show that:
• Alec has set up a separate sister group called the “Jeffersonian Project” amid concerns over possible government inquiries into whether its activities constitute lobbying – which would threaten its tax-exempt status;
• the network has suffered a decline in its membership among state-based Republicans and among big corporations following the Trayvon Martin controversy;
• its income raised from conferences, membership fees and donations has fallen short, leaving the group with a potential funding crisis;
• a draft agreement prepared for the board meeting proposed that Alec’s chairs in each of the 50 states, who are drawn from senior legislators, should be required to put the interests of the organisation first, thus setting up a possible conflict of interest with the voters who elected them;
• Alec also considered extending its remit to include the gambling industry, particularly online gambling, as a possible source of new members and revenue.
All the documents in question are available at the link, as well as the rest of the story.
i guess that’s why Walmart, Target and McDonald’s have all done their best to water down their bigotry over the last few months…..If you ask me it’s just another one of their ploys to get in good with those they oppress, so they can fatten them up again and feed them to the Tea Party/Libertarians who will soon be running the GOP for good!
The Republican War on Voting is happening in many states.
Pope Francis is once again shaking things up in the Catholic Church. On Tuesday, he issued his first “apostolic exhortation,” declaring a new enemy for the Catholic Church: modern capitalism. “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” he wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
He couldn’t be much clearer. The pope has taken a firm political stance against right-leaning, pro-free market economic policies, and his condemnation appears to be largely pointed at Europe and the United States.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Things are about to get really, really interesting in the world of politics and religion. Recently the Popiest Catholics and the most politically conservative Catholics have tightly overlapped. So have the most liberal and the most lapsed.
And now this.