Big money drowns out our voices

To the editor:

It is very troublesome that we are in the midst of a media frenzy over the IRS making it difficult for tea party-type organizations to gain nonprofit tax status. Meanwhile the real IRS scandal is the political activities of various big “nonprofit” Super Pacs like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and various trade associations that serve basically as secretive conduits for “dark money” in influencing elections.

The current IRS rules —theoretically — prevent nonprofits registers as so-called “501(c)4 social welfare organizations” from spending most of their money on political activities and elections. The IRS regulations have been interpreted so that such organizations “primarily” should be engaged in non-election activities. But it is okay to spend up to 50 percent of the budget on elections. I don’t think the IRS is monitoring all this behavior closely, no matter what political parties are involved.

This situation in combination with the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling has created a serious disaster for our traditional democracy. Among other things, the big money crowd and big corporations are now playing “Pay-to-Play” in Washington, D.C., and various state capitals. Most of the money goes through Super Pacs which usually hide the donors in secrecy. It recently was discovered that, for example, Chevron channeled $2.5 million through a Super Pac. Companies that contract with government are — theoretically — not to engage in various political donations. But is the IRS auditing this activity?

Big money talks loud. Meanwhile the voice of the average citizen is lost by the sound of wads of 10,000-dollar bills changing hands.

Mike Beebe


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