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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Dirty money

 
 

Last month, the Internal Revenue Service began a probe into 60 tax-exempt organizations, including the NAACP, which may have participated in political activities that would threaten their tax-exempt status. The groups under investigation include a variety of charities and churches with both right and left political leanings. Yet, NAACP chairman Julian Bond has insinuated that the IRS probe is an attempt to suppress black voters and restrict their First Amendment rights. Given the recent politically motivated actions of NAACP leaders, such a claim is false and unreasonable.
In April, the IRS issued an advisory warning to all tax-exempt organizations that they may not “endorse any candidates … or become involved in any other activities that may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate. Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria violate the political campaign prohibition.” In recent months, NAACP leaders have acted in clear violation of this requirement.
In a speech given at the NAACP convention in July, Bond called the presidential election a contest between two differing views of America. He said, “One view wants to march us backward through history – surrendering control of government to special interests, weakening democracy, giving religion veto power over science, curtailing civil liberties and despoiling the environment.” In the same speech, he said of the Bush administration, “They preach racial neutrality and practice racial division. They’ve tried to patch the leaky economy and every other domestic problem with duct tape and plastic sheets. They write a new constitution of Iraq, and they ignore the Constitution here at home.”
Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the Republican Party represents the “dark underside of American culture” and has implored NAACP members to vote against Bush. He even said that any black American who supports Bush is a “ventriloquist’s dummy.”
It is reprehensible to suggest that any black person who does not blindly conform to the political viewpoint dictated by NAACP leaders is a puppet. Indeed, one wonders how a free-thinking black American who agrees with the president on some issues can be more of a puppet than one who accepts Mfume’s every political whim without question.
Clearly, comments like those made by Mfume and Bond are designed to influence NAACP members to vote against Bush and other Republican candidates. As such, they violate IRS requirements for tax-exempt status.
In response to the IRS probe, Bond said, “This is an attempt to silence the NAACP on the very eve of a presidential election … It’s Orwellian to believe that criticism of the president is not allowed or that the president is somehow immune to criticism.”
Apparently, Bond does not understand that neither the Republican Party nor the nonpartisan IRS is attempting to silence his political views or suggesting that he should not be allowed to criticize the president. On the contrary, spirited political debate is necessary to maintain a healthy democracy. However, the law requires that any organization choosing to express political opinions must not do so at taxpayer expense, in order to be fair to those citizens who hold a different viewpoint. Right-leaning organizations such as the National Rifle Association are not classified as a tax-exempt, and the NAACP must be held to the same standard once it becomes an agent for spreading a political agenda. The leadership of the NAACP is not working to inform its membership of relevant political issues, but rather attempting to shape members’ opinions and influence their votes.
The NAACP is not above the law. As long as it continues to disseminate political propaganda, it does not merit tax-exempt status.

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