This week our Foundation rescinded its application for IRS 501(c)(3) status which, if approved, would have authorized us several tax shelters in order to assist in funding our operation.
However, in the short year that we have been operating, it has become clear that advocacy within the government and the politic are inextricably linked. It is also clear that in order to pursue agendas within our government, we must be free to express support, or lack thereof, for government parties and/or officials.
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.IRS Code
This issue came to the forefront with the recent election in Virginia’s Second Congressional district in which the incumbent, Elaine Luria, was unseated by opponent Jen Kiggins. In the past year, we engaged Luria’s office in several matters regarding defense issues. Initially responsive, Luria, who sat on the House Armed Services Committee, began to become more and more entangled in other party-centric affairs such as the 6 January commission. While well-intentioned, the relatively resource-intensive yet fruitless endeavor began to detract from her primary role of serving her constituency. That is when we began to support opponent Kiggins and, much to our satisfaction, witnessed her upset win earlier this month. Clearly, we were not the only citizens of VA-2 who had become disenfranchised with the once shining star Luria.
It is important to note here that we do not support or endorse any one party unilaterally (nor endorse any activities of the events surrounding 6 January, of course). We opposed Luria’s re-election, but were staunch supporters of Representatives Casten, Speier, and Schiff — all Democrats. We will continue to support them, and all others who share our common goal: to rid the military of retribution and reprisal.
With that being said, the Congressional elections in Virginia highlighted a key disconnect in our strategy, specifically that pursuing our strategic objectives and IRS nonprofit status are mutually exclusive. We therefore opted for the flexibility and latitude that cannot be provided when operating as an officially sanctioned 501(c)(3) non-profit. We felt it was more important to advocate for political entities that share our same vision; more so than receiving tax shelter allowances
What does this mean for you? The difference to our clientele is transparent. We will continue to operate as a not-for-profit, using 100% of generously-donated monies to fund our operation. We will continue to aggressively engage at the political level in order to pursue our aims. We will not be shy about voicing our support of certain parties/candidates/incumbents, nor criticizing those who do not engage with the fervor we believe they should.
The bottom line is that advancement of our objectives is too closely intertwined with the American politic to be separated by tax law.