Mon 12/9: The IRS wants to bow out of investigating corruption in tax-exempt groups. Tell them we want them on the job. Deadline tonight, 11:59 pm EST.

Action – Comment on the IRS’ dereliction of duty – Due tonight (12/9) by 11:59 EST.

This is from 2016 before Trump was elected, but still very relevant regarding dark money.

The IRS is proposing regulations allowing tax-exempt groups to keep donor identities secret. Political groups using tax-exempt entities for fundraising will be able to do so without disclosing the identities of their donors, effectively using so-called “dark money” to finance their causes and preferred candidates. Although the proposed rules would apply equally to groups such as Planned Parenthood, Indivisible, National Rifle Association, labor unions and trade associations, “dark money” is disproportionately used by far-right proponents.

Deeper Dive 

Propublica has published an article called “How the IRS Gave Up Fighting Political Dark Money Groups” as the IRS proposes new regulations allowing tax-exempt groups, including people, companies and unions  to dispense more than $1 billion in dark money while keeping their identities secret. Such spending is legal because Section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code allows organizations to make independent expenditures on politics while concealing their donors’ names — as long as politics isn’t the organization’s “primary activity.” The IRS is was supposed to check that organizations comply. Continue reading “Mon 12/9: The IRS wants to bow out of investigating corruption in tax-exempt groups. Tell them we want them on the job. Deadline tonight, 11:59 pm EST.”

Mon – 3/4: Basic Democracy needs an active offense. Take 2 fast actions!

Action #1 – Thank our legislators for their support of H.R. 1 – “For the People Act.

Indivisible National calls it: “…a big, bold, progressive vision for the future”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren said it “ends the dominance of big money in our politics. It ensures public officials work in the public interest.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls it a “power grab“.

So you know it’s good!

Minimal script for our reps: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep. [___] for cosponsoring  H.R.- 1 -“For the People Act”. Please vote down amendmentsthat would water down the bill, and reject any RepublicanMotion to Recommit.

(Rep-check here. Thank Brownley and Carbajal!) Continue reading “Mon – 3/4: Basic Democracy needs an active offense. Take 2 fast actions!”

Thurs 7/26: Stop the dark money invasion!

(Quote by Fred Wertheimer, watchdog group Democracy 21)

On July 16th, the Trump administration handed our elections over to right-wing extremists and foreign countries.

“This is the swampiest, darkest, dirtiest decision.We need more transparency in our campaigns, not less.” – Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana)

What they did: Continue reading “Thurs 7/26: Stop the dark money invasion!”

The separation of Church and State is what makes America special. This is the kind of wall we want.

Although some darkly mutter that that our secularity of our government was an atheist plot, it was actually a profoundly religious Baptist minister, Roger Williams, who gave us the gift of a separate church and state 400 years ago.

Here’s the short form as to why we’re not actually a religious theocracy right now.

In 1630, John Winthrop led 1,000 men, women and children to start the Massachusetts Bay Colony. These Puritans left England because they were disgusted with what they saw as corruption in the Church of England and the tyranny of the crown. Finally given complete freedom to create the simple worship and personal intimacy with God that they long desired, they proceeded remove religious freedom from others. “Puritan ministers were compelled—upon pain of imprisonment—to wear the surplice and use the Book of Common Prayer, and their congregants were compelled to participate in what they regarded as rote worship.”

In other words, having risked their lives to escape an oppressive religious regime, they immediately started to set up one of their own. Humans! 

However, Roger Williams, actually paying attention to history, felt that they should use this chance in a new world to do better than their forebears in protecting religion from the games of politicians.

“Williams believed that preventing error in religion was impossible, for it required people to interpret God’s law, and people would inevitably err. He therefore concluded that government must remove itself from anything that touched upon human beings’ relationship with God. A society built on the principles Massachusetts espoused would lead at best to hypocrisy, because forced worship, he wrote, “stincks in God’s nostrils.” At worst, such a society would lead to a foul corruption—not of the state, which was already corrupt, but of the church.” Continue reading “The separation of Church and State is what makes America special. This is the kind of wall we want.”