Tax-Deductible Spin

Republican strategist Roger Stone reported a few days ago that David Koch (co-founder and co-owner of Koch Industries) may have played a vital role in the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. According to Stone, Koch pledged to give Gov. Romney’s Super PAC $100 million if Congressman Ryan would be his V.P. selection.

I will not speculate that Governor Romney selected Ryan for such a bountiful donation — nor should liberal media outlets — because there is an actually a more substantive problem at hand.

Super PACs are defined under our tax codes as 501(c)(4) organizations, which are classified as charity or social welfare groups. An organization classified by the IRS under this section is essentially impervious to disclosure laws in regards to donors and donation amounts.

The other problem is that any donation can be tax deductible, like the deductions one gets for tithing or donating to a cancer foundation.

I am not trying to pick on Mr. Koch, or any Republican candidates, because the Democrats have their power brokers and Super PACs as well, making them no different from their opponents. My problem is that these Super PACs are responsible for publishing, producing and financing many of these distasteful, libel-ridden advertisements we see on TV or the Internet every day. Yet they operate under a tax-exempt status, with little to no regulation, and can in layman’s terms be called “charity.”

We should not allow these polarizing factions — major catalysts in eradicating Washington’s pragmatic personalities of old — to be classified as charitable organizations; rather, we should call them what they truly are: partisan provocateurs.

In order for us to move forward as a nation, with sensible public policy and prudent public officials, we should first try to discern the difference between a charity and a hate group.

Jason Brown