Our League in Action:

February 2014 Comments to the IRS on Regulation to Tame Dark Money in Politics by our co-president Sam Neeman

The IRS has proposed very significant changes in the regulations that govern what kind of political activity and how much of that activity a Section 501(c)(4) organization can carry out. This step is our best chance to rein in the secret “dark money” that has been polluting our elections since the Supreme Court’s terrible decision in Citizens United.  At the same time, the current proposal would undermine the League’s ability to conduct truly nonpartisan voter service activities across the country.

Both the National League and the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank have filed comments. 
Our League submitted the following comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Regulation 134417-13 Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities are being submitted to the IRS electronically on 2/27/2014. We are taking action based on the U.S. Position on Campaign Finance Reform.

The IRS must stop the “dark money” polluting our elections. Don’t back off.  We have seen too much abuse by fly-by-night 501(c)(4) organizations and it is harming our democracy. We need real transparency and tough rules to stop “candidate-related political activity” by these organizations. 

We  strongly believe  the IRS must move ahead with a rigorous and clear definition of “candidate-related political activity” in order to stop the abuse of 501(c)(4) status by electioneering groups that are clearly not social welfare organizations, though we have important objections to the actual definition proposed by the IRS.
We recommend the  current IRS proposal be changed to make sure that truly nonpartisan voter service activities by the League of Women Voters can continue. The existing standards currently applied to 501(c)(3) organizations governing nonpartisan election activities should also be applied to (c)(4) organizations.
The League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark, and Union City also strongly supports the much more detailed comments of the League of Women Voters of the United States on this topic, filed on February 19, 2014. We further support the comments of the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank filed on February 24, 2014.

Sam Neeman, Co-President
League of Women Voters of
Fremont, Newark and Union City