Thursday, January 5, 2012

Once Again Conservatives Show a Lack of Willing to Abide by the Law of the Land

Being Conservative Means Laws You Don’t Like Don’t Apply to You - No Wonder They Like Newt Gingrich

The U. S. tax code awards tax exempt status to non-profit organizations, typically those that operate for the public benefit like schools, charities and other institutions which make life better for all of us.  As a result, a private University may make a profit of millions of dollars, but pays nothing in income taxes.

In return for this exemption from paying taxes, the institutions agree to abide by certain rules.  One of the most important is that the institution cannot engage in partisan political activity.  This seems like an eminently reasonable request, after all the institution is getting a subsidy from all taxpayers and it hardly seems fair that taxpayers should have to subsidize an institution that works against the political positions of some of them.

Liberty University is a college in Lynchburg, Virginia that was started by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell.  It is based on Mr. Falwell’s personal religious beliefs, as it has every right to do so, and it is a tax exempt organization.  But the folks at Liberty who believe that because their hearts are pure they can violate any laws they want feel free to use the college resources to promote a political candidate.  In this case the support is aimed at Newt Gingrich who lacked money to compete in Iowa.

A second major player in conservative circles, Liberty University, the evangelical institution founded by Jerry Falwell, is also giving Mr. Gingrich some help in Iowa, running 30-second commercials in which Mr. Gingrich extols the virtues of a Liberty education.

Now some observers are concerned about this, and think that Liberty is violating the rules of its tax exempt status.

Election law experts said the more problematic issues were with Liberty University’s ad, which could be jeopardizing its tax-exempt status.

“It would be hard to think of a circumstance in which it could run and ad featuring a federal candidate in the middle of a primary or a caucus without raising serious tax-exempt questions,” said Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “I hope they have good tax lawyers.”

But this concern is unfounded.  Places like Liberty are untouchable, the power of the Conservative media being so great that no government agency would dare come after them as they would play the “persecution” card and the “freedom of religion” card.  But at least as time goes on they are less able to play the “good citizens” card, because in fact they are not. 

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