If taxpayer subsidized, we deserve disclosure.
By Jack E. Lohman
The 501(c)(3) non-profit corporate structure works well when contributing money to charities like the Salvation Army, because your contribution comes off the top of your income before you pay taxes. Thus if you are in the 20% tax range and give $100, you are effectively giving $80 and the taxpayers are paying the other $20 (because the government never receives the $20).
Unfortunately, it also works well for fat cats like George Soros and Rupert Murdock when they want to support their Left- or Right-wing fringe groups. The taxpayers help them in their personal cause, no matter how extreme, and even if it works against the best interests of those same taxpayers.
And it helps corporate CEOs and unions that want to invest in so-called non-partisan (yet biased) “think tanks” like Cato or Heritage, when they want to develop slanted studies that support their agendas and block others (like blocking legislation that would increase their tax liability but increase yours).
Think tanks are often “taxpayer-supported propaganda machines” and I support some of them myself (like Public Citizen and other good-government groups).
Who is “Americans for Prosperity,” for example, and other apple-pie-sounding organizations? Oh, tobacco industry involvement? I didn’t know that. Getting taxpayer subsidies? I didn’t know that either!!!
But that’s the way the non-profit game is played.
This has clearly gone too far and the taxpayers deserve better. We at least deserve disclosure of who we are funding and who we are thus getting in bed with if we send a check.
We deserve to know if a particular propaganda group is working for us or against us; or if they are a front group with a deceptive name that does exactly opposite its appearance.
If our taxes are used to subsidize these propaganda machines, we have a right to know who’s behind them. Business, labor, or the health insurance bad guys.
- Require a disclosure page on their web site.
- Mandate disclosure of the top 20 contributors, whether corporations or individuals.
- If those contributors are also tax-exempt, require disclosure of their top 20 contributors.
- Mandate disclosure of all of their contributions to politicians or political action committees or other tax-exempt organizations.
Yes, I would apply this to ALL tax-exempt organizations, even the ones I support.
As well, tax-exempts can be used to enhance for-profit corporate salaries, and this must stop!
How? By having the 501(c)(3) collect exorbitant surpluses (“profits” in lay terms) and passing them on to external executives in the form of “management fees” to a for-profit company. This can be done by non-profit hospitals, as an example, and these pass-throughs must be forbidden.
— For-profit corporate law must also be reformed. Shareholders, the owners of the corporations, are often at the total mercy of Boards of Directors with incestuous ties to the CEOs.
— Board members are often CEOs of other corporations and have this CEO also sit on their board, and they vote in favor of each other’s salaries.
— Shareholders must have 100% control over their CEO’s salary and benefits, as opposed to the zero control they currently have.