Is it time for Voices for Georgia’s Children and other public policy and advocacy organizations to create 501(c)(4)s, organizations that are permitted to have a greater impact on elections?

 The Supreme Court ruling last week was popularly characterized either as “restoring free speech to corporations” or as “unleashing corporate bank accounts on the election process.”  There has been less talk about the impact on non profits.  That’s partly because the decision addresses election law, not tax law.  According to the Alliance for Justice, an organization that helps non profits abide by the rules on political activity, “…501(c)(3)s still cannot endorse candidates or make independent expenditures suggesting who is the ‘better’ candidate.”

From my standpoint, I would repeat comments from my first blog post (Jan. 6).  Many special interests “… have resources at their command that we can only dream of:  legions of corporate experts, armies of industry employees, and decades of political relationships.” 

 Now these other special interests have access to the corporate pocketbook itself.  That’s good for them but now the voices of advocates for children or other social issues will be mere whispers in the noise of our elections and the political process.  Unless, as the Alliance for Justice intimates, we create 501(c)(4)s, the form of non-profit that will share in the rights created by the Supreme Court decision.  In their words, “…  Even if you think the case was wrongly decided, 501(c)(4)s and other nonprofit corporations (except for 501(c)(3)s) should take advantage of it–use it to strengthen democracy by increasing your public communications about the candidates and what’s best for the future of our country.”

Pat

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