♫ I WANT TO GET POLITICAL, PO-LIT-I-CAL ♪
FAIRtax-ers tend to be active in local politics. It’s the nature of our movement, and the temptation is always there to mix FAIRtax with political activity. When acting in our roles as FAIRtax-ers, can we be political?
FAIRtax is a nonpartisan, single-issue organization. If you keep those two thoughts in mind, you will keep yourself and your fellow FAIRtax-ers out of trouble 99% of the time.
FAIRtax is nonpartisan and single-issue for two main reasons. The first is that FAIRtax is recognized by the IRS – yes that’s right, the IRS – as a so-called “501(c)(4)” organization and, as such, is tax exempt. Loss of our “C4” exemption would mean that FAIRtax would have to pay tax on every dollar we receive that we don’t spend, and even then some of our expenses may not be allowed. Our ability to advocate for the FAIRtax would be hurt – perhaps beyond recovery. We must keep our tax exemption out of jeopardy.
Recently our board adopted illustrations to help local chapters understand the fine line between FAIRtax education and political activity. They are:
- State and local chapters may poll office holders and candidates for public office and advise FAIRtax supporters where the office holders and candidates stand on the FAIRtax. This activity should be carried out in an objective and nonpartisan manner to include all the major candidates for a public office. If there is no response from a candidate or office holder, the advice “We reached out to [Candidate X] [Office Holder Y] and did not receive a response,” is acceptable.
- State and local chapters may design a “grade scale” to office holders and candidates if the activity carried out in a manner that is objective and nonpartisan, and the grades represent solely the candidates’ position on the FAIRtax. State and local chapters may not endorse candidates but may apply reason, logic, common sense and a scale of positions to arrive at a “Grade” from, for example, A to F for candidates on the issue of tax reform in the form of the FAIRtax.
- But the following statement is problematic: “[TITLE] FAIRtax Chances Are Better With [Candidate X].” … “[CONCLUSION] Although [Candidate X] can hardly be called an advocate for a FairTax bill, [Candidate Y] as [Office Holder] would be a nearly insurmountable obstacle.”
This commentary all but endorses Candidate X. If this commentary were omitted, and only the significant underlying facts were presented, that would permit readers to draw their own conclusions, and the statement would be unobjectionable.
The other principal reason that FAIRtax is single-issue and non-partisan is that we want to speak to both sides of the political aisle. There is a current crop of freshman Democrats who are willing to show independence from their caucus leadership. At the beginning of the FAIRtax, when there were eight sponsors of the bill, we had an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. Each new member of one party was asked to bring in a member from the other party. But now the Democrat leadership is telling its caucus to stay off the bill. If we can get to the new crop of independent thinkers among Democrats, we can circumvent the leadership.
The FAIRtax also can appeal to the Problem Solvers Caucus co-chaired by Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ and Tom Reed, R-NY. The Problem-Solvers include 48 member of Congress equally divided among Republicans and Democrats. This group is more likely to put politics aside and consider the FAIRtax on its merits.
And the FAIRtax needs to do all of the foregoing while keeping its appeal to Republicans and Conservatives.
Why don’t we simply form a “527” Political Action Committee that does not have to worry about challenges from the IRS for political activity? We discussed this question recently and concluded that, while the idea is good, the problem is to find people who are willing to put money up. Hundreds of PACS are vying for donations.
We need you, the grassroots, to help us protect the brand and keep on the right side of this issue.
CALL FOR PICTURES AND WRITEUPS
We need MORE of you to send in pictures and news. If you have anything to share, please send your material to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text me at (908) 578-4975, or fax me at (908) 598-2888. When others see your activity, they are inspired, and the process snowballs. When the process snowballs, Congress Members and Senators and, yes, even the President start to listen.