Levin supports IRS rule to clarify allowable campaign activity by tax exempt social welfare groups

WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, today filed comments with the IRS supporting a proposed rule that would establish consistent definitions and bright lines on the involvement of tax-exempt organizations in political campaigns.

In a letter commenting on a proposed rule now under consideration, Levin welcomed provisions in the rule that “would appropriately create a set of bright line standards that draw from existing federal election laws.” He wrote that those standards “would minimize the types of intrusive fact gathering, subjective judgments, and delays that have attracted criticism.”
Levin also wrote that any rule should reflect the statutory requirement that social welfare organizations claiming tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code must be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. The rule now allows organizations to qualify as meeting the exclusivity test if they are “primarily engaged” in social welfare, which Levin writes is “contrary to the plain meaning of the statute and the plain meaning of the word ‘exclusively.’ “ His letter recommends instead that the rule allow tax exempt social welfare groups to engage in only an insubstantial amount of candidate-related political activity.

Full text of the letter is available HERE.