ACORN and the IRS code


What does it mean to be a non-profit, tax exempt organization under the IRS code? According to their website:

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

I was thinking today about the whole ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and Obama thing and how these people were on the news, in communities and elsewhere basically begging people to go out and VOTE for CHANGE, vote for Obama, and vote for a new America.

Apparently, the voter registration activities were handled under the “Project Vote” branch of ACORN and they describe their voter registration program this way:

Since 1982 Project Vote has helped over six million Americans complete applications to register to vote. Working with our field partner, the community organization ACORN, Project Vote in 2007-2008 conducted the largest and most comprehensive voter registration drive in the history of our two organizations, a 21-state community-based operation that succeeded in collecting over 1.3 million voter registration applications. We estimate that the majority of our applicants were from low- to moderate-income families, 60-70 percent were African-American or Latino, and over half were under the age of 30.

Now I don’t know about you, but it seriously looks to me like there is no way that ACORN OR Project Vote can qualify for a 501(c)(3) tax code exemption since they are very OBVIOUSLY “action organizations,” which the tax code says is not allowed. Not only that, but it says that they are not supposed to attempt to influence legislation. If you look at their website, that’s the MAIN purpose of ACORN!!! They actually state which bills to support and which ones you should call your senator or representative and say don’t support. That pretty much sounds like influencing legislation.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about ACORN’s illegal activities, but seriously people. Someone would have to be blind not to see this stuff! And yet there they are, still doing what they’ve been doing.

Hmmmm.

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