A Click Away

A thousand years ago theologians pondered how many angels could sit atop the head of a pin. The answer is still a bit unclear, but the God business doesn't seem to be suffering from lack of certainty on the point.

These days the IRS is pondering how many clicks of the mouse it takes to lose your freedoms of speech and religion, but nobody in the non-profit sector is willing to wait a thousand years to find out. In fact, tax-exempt organizations of all kinds would like an answer well before the 2008 election cycle heats up any more.

Non-profits are nervous about all of this because enforcement of the no-politicking rule is complaint-driven, and no charity wants to get a complaint. As Pomeranz observed, charities live on their halos, and they don't want their halos tarnished by a series of complaints that could have been avoided by clear rules. Meanwhile, they will be wary of linking. The word is that these political activity rules are a priority at the IRS right now. Let's hope so. The election season is heating up.

Bruce Collins is the corporate vice president and general counsel of C-SPAN, based in Washington, D.C.


Bruce D. Collins

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