- Legal Center Urges IRS to Investigate Crossroads GPS’s Tax Status
- 9th Circuit Hears Oral Argument in San Diego Campaign Finance Lawsuit
- Executive Director Speaks at NAACP Legal Defense Fund Training
- President Participates in Working Group on Citizens United and the Changing Political Role of Corporations
- Executive Director Speaks at Common Cause 40th Anniversary Conference
Legal Center Urges IRS to Investigate Crossroads GPS’s Tax Status
In a letter to the Internal Revenue Service on October 5, 2010, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 called on the IRS to investigate whether Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization, “is operating in violation of its tax status because it has a primary purpose of participating in political campaigns in support of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office.”
Crossroads GPS was organized in July, 2010 as a “non-profit social action organization” under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. In order to qualify for such tax status, the organization must not be “primarily engaged” in participating or intervening in political campaigns to support or oppose candidates. Crossroads GPS is affiliated with American Crossroads, a section 527 group.
The letter notes, “The status of Crossroads GPS as a section 501(c)(4) entity allows its donors to evade the public disclosure requirements that would apply if the organization was registered as a section 527 political organization.”
9th Circuit Hears Oral Argument in San Diego Campaign Finance Lawsuit
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument Oct. 4 in Thalheimer v. City of San Diego. Plaintiffs/appellants challenge, among other things, a San Diego law providing that a “general purpose recipient committee” may only use individual contributions—not contributions from corporations, labor unions or other non-individual entities—to support or oppose a municipal candidate by making independent expenditures, and that those contributions may only be up to $500 per individual contributor. In February, the district court enjoined enforcement of the contribution limit and the City appealed. In April, the Legal Center, together with the Center for Governmental Studies and Common Cause, filed an amici brief with the Ninth Circuit supporting the City and arguing that the district court erroneously applied the strict scrutiny analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, striking down a spending limit, to the San Diego law, which is a contribution limit that should be subject to a lower degree of scrutiny.
Executive Director Speaks at NAACP Legal Defense Fund Training
On October 8-9, 2010, Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert will address the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s “Voting Rights and Redistricting Training Institute” at the Airlie Conference Center in Warrenton, Virginia. The program focuses on training attorneys, advocates, academics and others who will be involved in the legislative and congressional redistricting that will follow the 2010 Census.
President Participates in Working Group on Citizens United and the Changing Political Role of Corporations
On October 1, 2010 Legal Center President, Trevor Potter, participated in a day-long working group at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and the changing political role of the corporation. The conference was co-hosted by the Center for Political Accountability, the Wharton School / Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, and the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.
Executive Director Speaks at Common Cause 40thAnniversary Conference
On October 6, 2010, Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert spoke at a conference hosted by the nonprofit Common Cause, entitled, “Got Change?: Making Democracy Work for the Rest of Us”. Gerry was a panelist in a discussion of past abuses of the redistricting process and possible redistricting reform measures.