Screwed Up Speech Law

I am not sure the WSJ has the law right (I don't really trust the media any more to get basic facts correct), but assuming for a moment they know what they are talking about, this caught my attention vis a vis the IRS scandal:

Officials explained that the unit had made the change [to their targeting criteria] because it was receiving many applications for groups that focused on lobbying, which is a permitted activity, and that weren't involved in political activity, which is restricted.

So its OK to kiss a Senator's ass but not OK to advocate for his defeat in the next election?  They may screw everything else up, but Congress is really good at making sure it takes care of itself.


  1. Matt Landry:

    To be fair, advocating _for_ his re-election is just as prohibited for non-profits as advocating against it. :)

  2. Don:

    Well,Warren, as with everything in politics and economics, incentives matter.

  3. NL7:

    The distinction is explicit and written by Congress. You can ask politicians to change a law but you can't ask private citizens to bother politicians to change a law (except for true members of your organization). It's pretty obviously written to limit the ability of nonprofits to make lots of trouble for politicians. § 501(c)(4) orgs can do some politicking, but it can't be their primary focus. You don't get the deduction you would from a § 501(c)(3) contribution.