Wednesday Jun 19

Online Only Features

Today’s NYT article about IRS interest in pursuing gift taxes on contributions from individuals to “advocacy” 501 c/4 organizations, such as Americans for Prosperity or Crossroads GPS, both decidedly conservative, completes the ascent of corporate interests to dominance in our political system. Written by Stephanie Strom, normally the ambulance chaser of journalists focused on nonprofits, this article reports on the surprising news that the IRS is finally considering enforcing a tax it declared in 1982 to apply to contributions from individuals to 501 c/4 advocacy groups like the NRA, NARAL, and the Sierra Club, organizations whose “primary purpose” cannot be electoral, but rather legislative and policy. Non-primary purpose activities CAN support or oppose candidates but must remain below 49% of total expenditures; under recent rulings, this has permitted large anonymous contributions for what are essentially independent expenditure campaigns for or against candidates.

Read more: Better than a trifecta

Editor’s Note: In the United States, Mexico, and many other countries collective bargaining, workers’ rights, and unions themselves are under attack in what can sometimes seem a coordinated attack.  One of our readers sent us this piece, and it seemed especially topical for the times, therefore we are “printing” it immediately and offering it to our readers directly as a special feature on-line feature on our website.   WR

Recent events in Wisconsinhave questioned the necessity of collective bargaining.  The governor of Wisconsin notwithstanding, collective bargaining is recognized internationally in numerous conventions, constitutions, and courts as a human right.

Legal Background

Our Constitution addresses the right of collective bargaining.  The Thirteenth Amendment provides that:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The thirteenth amendment appears to address only the issue of slavery.  However, according to the Supreme Court in 1911, the purpose of the thirteenth amendment was not simply to eliminate slavery, but:

…to make labor free by prohibiting that control by which the personal service of one man is disposed of or coerced for another's benefit.

Read more: Bruce T. Boccardy: Collective Bargaining-Essential to Democracy

*** Below is a special note from Social Policy Pubisher Wade Rathke***

Peter Cervantes-Gautschi’s article, Wall Street & Our Campaign to Decriminalize Immigrants from the Winter issue of Social Policy has been named the 5th most censored story of 2010-2011 by Project Censored.

Normally when a new issue of Social Policy comes out, the articles from the previous issue moves behind a subscription wall - but in the case of this article, we’ve decided to make it free-feature on the front page of

We’re proud of Peter and honored to be part of getting the story out.  We’re also thankful for your support that allows Peter’s voice to be heard because readers and subscribers have made Social Policy a magazine that matters.

Enjoy the read!

Wade Rathke, Publisher

Social Policy

Read more: Wall Street & Our Campaign to Decriminalize Immigrants