Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity.
I put that code from the IRS out there as the most important issue of this entry.
This entry is in no way meant to dismiss or contradict the accomplishments of the Center for Democracy (CMD). Their contribution has been immeasurable – up to now.
This entry is meant to educate others on the limitations that are placed on CMD – because of their 501c3 status.
This entry is posted to help readers understand that CMD has for the most part - hit the end of the road – as far as their assistance to us in DESTOYING ALEC – what they are currently doing (which is great) is all that they can do – they can not take it to the next level.. CMD can continue to furnish us with information – thereby educating us in our knowledge of ALEC – but based on their 501c3 status, they can offer us very little more.
Although the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) claims to be bi-partisan, we know that ALEC is not and that the majority of writings that are done about ALEC will focus on Republican candidates almost exclusively. CMD can not participate in a partisan type of activity.
Per the CMD 501c3 purpose (from their 990) they are to:
The Center for Media and Democracy educates the public on the impact of public relations on the political process through books, articles, newsletters, interviews, and speeches.
The Center for Democracy is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, public interest organization that focuses on investigating and countering spin by corporations, industries, and government agencies that affects our health, liberty, security, economic opportunities, environment, and the vitality of the democratic process.
The purpose that CMD serves is too important for them to take a chance at jeopardizing their 501c3 status.
By providing us with access to ALEC model legislation and providing us with a place to compile lists of politicians affiliated with ALEC – CMD is assisting with the education of citizens about the very structure of ALEC.
By publishing articles about activities that ALEC, CMD is providing us with information to educate us and “countering spin” in order for us to take action.
I am getting the distinct and awful foreboding that people think that just because CMD has all this valuable ALEC information that somehow – CMD can destroy ALEC.
While CMD can be of assistance in the destruction of ALEC – it is citizen activists who will truly hold the responsibility for destroying ALEC.
The information that CMD can provide is important in our understanding of the workings of ALEC – but is WE who must take the actions necessary to make sure that ALEC is destroyed.
It is citizen action that will make sure that ALEC legislators are not re-elected – CMD can have no part of that political discussion due to their 501c3 status.
It is citizen action that will make sure that ALEC “model legislation” is not passed in our state legislatures – CMD can not do that due to their 501c3 status.
It is citizen action that will educate progressive and moderate legislators about ALEC and ask them for their assistance in stopping ALEC – CMD can not do this due to their 501c3 status.
It is citizen action that will educate voters in your precinct about ALEC and ask them to stop ALEC or ALEC leaning candidates from being elected – CMD can not do this due to their 501c3 status.
It is citizen action that will vet every candidate in 2012 to make sure that they are not affiliated with ALEC or hold a free market philosophy – CMD can not do that due to their 501c3 status.
It is citizen action that will be required to investigate every candidate in our city and county elections to make sure they are not affiliated with ALEC of hold a free market philosophy – CMD can not do that due to their 501c3 status.
CMD holds the information necessary to educate us in our quest.
CMD does not have the proverbial silver bullet that will destroy ALEC.
Citizen activists are the only people that can and must destroy ALEC at the city, county, state and federal level.
2011 IS NOT the first time ALEC has been exposed. It is important to remember that this is not the first time that ALEC has been brought to the attention of the general public. In 2002, Alecwatch.org supplied the reading public with information needed to begin the process of destroying ALEC – and no one listened – no one took action. It is ten years later and ten years of more damage to our democracy by ALEC – we can no longer sit idle – we MUST act!
The actions of John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Tom Delay, John Kyl, Donald Rumsfeld, Steve King, Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer, Mary Kiffmeyer and all the other ALEC members or ALEC alumni should be fair warning to us that we CAN NOT afford to wait another 10 years to take action against ALEC – we MUST act.
The time of being ONLY ALEC keyboard commandos has passed– we MUST concentrate on putting “boots to the ground” and making sure that ALEC members and alumni are not re-elected. We must make sure that ALEC sympathizers and past members are not appointed to state and federal positions of authority. We must make sure that every candidate – for years to come - is properly vetted to make sure they are not an ALEC member and do not hold an ALEC-like free market philosophy.
Your future depends on your actions. Your children’s future depends on your actions. Your grandchildren’s future depends on your actions. Your family’s future depends on your actions.
Now is your moment and you are holding the power to take action to eliminate this radical right wing extremist corporatist organization and remove ALEC legislative members from our democratic process.
Now is your moment to save representation of, by and for the people and save our democracy.
Minnesota / Western Wisconsin Activist Committee Against ALEC
With this posting and in cooperation with MnDem999 from Daily Kos we are starting the
/ Western Wisconsin Activist Committee Against ALEC. Minnesota
The purpose of this committee will be to strategize ways to eliminate ALEC influence from the state legislature and to strategize ways to eliminate ALEC legislators in the 2012 elections and beyond.
This is a “face to face” group and while discussion is important – ACTION is the purpose. We will not be convening to “talk about ALEC”.
Every person involved will be required to commit to ACTION. If you don’t have time to take ACTION – this is not be the group for you.
We will be the “boots on the ground” in the attempt to Destroy ALEC.
If you are interested in joining this group please leave me a comment with your real name and email address (I will not publish your comment with your email) and I will contact you regarding the first meeting of the group.
This entry is cross-posted on Daily Kos.