Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen has joined a cadre of left-wing groups funded by George Soros in a lawsuit challenging the rule at the heart of the IRS intimidation tactics leveled against groups seeking a tax status, most of which were conservative leaning groups.
Van Hollen, the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, are filing their lawsuit on August 21 essentially saying they feel that the IRS has allowed too many groups to attain 501(c)(4) tax status. They maintain that many of these groups don’t legally qualify for the coverage and they want the IRS to tighten its application rules.
At issue is how much “social welfare” work is done by those groups seeking the status. Democrats maintain that in order to qualify for a 501(c)(4) status, the law says that applicant groups can’t spend any money on political causes, but the IRS has been somewhat vague on the issue leading some organizations to claim that if they spend up to 49 percent of their funds on political causes, they should still qualify.
Groups like the George Soros funded Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21 have been working since 2010 to deny conservative groups a 501(c)(4) tax status with several lawsuits and letter-writing campaigns designed to force the IRS to their point of view.
In fact, it was the work of Soros that helped spark the intimidation policy initiated by the IRS in the first place when these left-wing organizations sent letters to the IRS demanding that closer scrutiny be paid to conservative groups petitioning the IRS for a tax status.
It is this ongoing campaign that Representative Van Hollen has joined.
As an example of the sort of unfair demands made on conservative groups, Houston-based True The Vote was forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fees, representation, and compliance costs in an attempt to get a tax status.
True The Vote has filed its own lawsuit seeking damages for the unfair treatment it faced.
The voter integrity group, for instance, has been beset by claims that it is a partisan, “voter suppression” effort. In a recent story on True The Vote’s lawsuit, for instance, The Washington Post included this line in its report: “True the Vote has come under fire for intimidating African-American and other minority voters at the polls.”
This is typical of the narrative the progressive media employs against the organization. While it is true that the organization has “come under fire” for intimidation, the fact is that it has been investigated by local, state, and federal authorities numerous times and there has been no case of voter suppression ever found. In other words, “come under fire” simply means people are making the false claim despite the truth of the matter.
But the chief goal of Van Hollen and the Soros-funded liberal groups is that of “transparency.”
Van Hollen is an opponent of the Citizens United case and has been unsuccessfully pushing legislation to require more public disclosure of campaign-related spending not to mention public identification of donors for groups involved in political advocacy.
The Maryland Congressman has previously said that “Requiring full disclosure and transparency would go a long way to getting the IRS out of the business” of determining how much money an organization is allowed to spend on politics.