May 2, 2016

Conservation is Conservative

Taxing Conservation: The IRS and Social Welfare

Internal Revenue Service

When news broke over the weekend that the IRS had targeted conservative groups registered as 501(c)4 organizations, we weren’t surprised. Our tax attorney advised us nearly a year ago to be careful not to wander from our core mission because he had heard about the increased scrutiny in the D.C. grapevine.

Yes, ConservAmerica is a 501(c)4 social welfare organization.

Eighteen years ago, we moved heaven and earth to gain approval of our 501(c)4 application. The IRS struggled with our unique concept: to make progress on conservation and environmental protection, a niche organization dedicated to working within Republican and conservative circles was required.

We believe that solutions grounded in liberty and free markets are inherently better for the American people, our environment, and our economy, than are centralized command and control regulations.

Our mission is to restore the GOP’s great conservation legacy to the party. That hasn’t changed in 18 years.We know our basic formula works. Republican elected officials and candidates need a trusted source on environmental issues. A source that won’t turn around and work to beat them in the next election, or let the perfect get in the way of the good. A source with a grassroots network to show up and stand up for Republicans who cast good votes for conservation.

We’re the ‘home’ for traditional Republicans who believe “conservation is conservative”. On a daily basis, we receive kind messages from new members who tell us, “Thank goodness I found you! I thought I was the last Republican who cared about conservation”.

Social welfare? We’ve been instrumental in protecting some of our great landscapes, treasured wildlife, our air and water, and many of the important laws that are a hallmark of America’s environmental protection successes. We serve as a daily reminder to Republicans and conservatives across the nation of our great conservation legacy—one that might not otherwise be apparent today.

Yes, ConservAmerica has promoted the social welfare of our nation.

It is chilling to know that the IRS thinks “conservative” and “social welfare” are mutually exclusive.


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  1. This issue and the article below raises the profile of questions about the non-profit status of political groups which I think the Tea Party in my area qualifies as. Obviously, political groups such the DNC and the RNC and groups which are connected to them do not qualify as tax exempt organizations. Many non -profit, tax exempt organizations, including ConservAmerica, legally established as REP America, have a separate political arm for political endorsement of candidates. REP America’s separate political arm is REP PAC. It is the separate organization that endorses candidates and which is not tax exempt. Non-profit organizations should be very cautious about complying with their original purpose and procedures included in their applications for tax exempt status, including their approved operational procedures, otherwise their status could be threatened.

    In IRS scandal, why is any political group exempt from taxes?

    Published: May 16, 2013

    See full story at ..

    By Kevin G. Hall and David Lightman — McClatchy Newspapers

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is under fire for giving extra scrutiny to conservative organizations that asked for tax-exempt status. But the scandal begs a broader question: Why are political organizations getting this government subsidy anyway?

    The section of the tax code sought by the tea party groups was established for the benefit of groups that promote social welfare, generally nonprofit operations. Examples on the IRS website involve community service and groups that provide a certain local benefit.

    Somewhere along the line, this longstanding classification has become a loophole exploited by groups seeking to elect Democrats, Republicans and most recently tea party candidates and like-minded groups.

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