The highly politicized California Attorney General is loathe to pursue, prosecute or punish fraudulent or politically-active non-profit organizations operating in the state, but under an alarming new bill will “notify the Franchise Tax Board if the AG has determined that an entity granted tax-exempt status has engaged in specified criminal acts.”
We wish the Attorney General would pay attention to nonprofit organizations engaging in criminal acts. So what is the bill referring to?
Senate Bill 834 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), “authorizes the Franchise Tax Board to revoke the tax-exempt status of a charitable organization if the organization has engaged in, or incited the active engagement of, any criminal conspiracies or acts.”
“Nonprofits that fundraise off of the insurrection and that are working to overthrow our government and dismantle our democracy should not receive privileged tax status,” said Senator Wiener. “These poisonous organizations are attacking the heart of our nation and cynically scamming people and preying on their fears and misunderstandings.”
Pot, meet kettle.
Senate Bill 834, the “No Tax Exemption for Insurrection Act,” just passed the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee by a vote of 7-0.
SB 834 was introduced by Sen. Wiener January 6, 2022 – one year after the January 6, 2021 rally-turned-riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Sen. Wiener explains his reasoning:
“SB 834 is a first-in-the-nation bill that will revoke the California tax-exempt status of nonprofit organizations that participate in or incite efforts to overthrow the United States government or any state government. Nonprofit organizations have used the ‘Big Lie’ – the fraudulent notion that the 2020 election was stolen – to fundraise for and funnel money to extremist and anti-democratic initiatives like the January 6 insurrection. Tax-exempt status is a privilege, not a right, and organizations that engage in or incite insurrection or conspiracy to commit insurrection – both of which are illegal – should not be given this special status to help them fundraise. Moreover, non-California nonprofits should not be able to register to raise money in California if they are engaging in or inciting insurrection.”
Where do we begin?
For starters, the Globe asked an attorney if this is legal or not. He said the Internal Revenue Code and IRS regulations determine who can or cannot be tax exempt. If a church, for example, is engaged in political activity, it can lose its tax exempt status.
The church example is pretty cut and dried. What Sen. Wiener is proposing is not. How does government legitimately determine if non-profit organizations are attempting to overthrow the government, especially based on the dubious Jan 6th committee we are witnessing in real time, and in prime time? Many call it “political theater,” while actual political prisoners are being held in the Washington D.C. jail 17-months later, without being charged with a crime (or are charged with trespassing).
Declaring political enemies as enemies of the state is dangerous turf.
“As the congressional hearings about the January 6 insurrection are demonstrating once again, allowing extremism to run rampant in our society is very dangerous,” said Sen. Wiener.“Any group actively working to overthrow the U.S. government or overturn democratic elections is breaking the law, and should not be allowed the privilege of tax-exempt status. SB 834 ensures these anti-democratic organizations aren’t able to raise money as a nonprofit in California.”
Wiener continued: “The January 6, 2021, insurrection took place when pro-Trump extremists – in response to the false narrative that the Democrats ‘stole’ the 2020 election and incited by then-President Donald Trump – breached the United States Capitol. Five people were killed as a result of this insurrection, and hundreds were injured. Vice President Pence and Speaker Pelosi were specific targets of this violent attack on our democracy. Many nonprofits that supported the insurrection and continue to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election in hopes of overturning the results still operate with tax-exempt status, both at the federal and state level.”
The unspoken intent of the January 6 committee is to chill speech and criminalize any talk questioning the veracity of the 2020 Election.
SB 834 bill analysis says:
“SB 834 revokes the California tax-exempt status of a nonprofit organization if the Attorney General determines that the nonprofit has actively engaged in or incited treason, misprision of treason, insurrection, seditious conspiracy, advocating overthrow of the government or the government of any State, or advocating mutiny by members of the military or naval forces of the U.S.”
Does disagreeing with the current administration qualify as inciting treason, misprision of treason, insurrection, seditious conspiracy, advocating overthrow of the government or the government of any State?
Will Christian nonprofit organizations risk losing their tax-exempt status for protesting at the State Capitol against Sen. Wiener’s innumerable bills which threaten the nuclear family and parental rights?
Will parent-led nonprofit organizations risk losing their tax-exempt status for protesting at the Capitol against Critical Race Theory curriculum in public schools, or the sexualizing of their children in public schools? The United States Attorney General and U.S. Department of Justice already labeled parents “domestic terrorists” for showing up at school board meetings and demanding accountability and transparency over CRT and LGBTQ “grooming” of their kids.
Will nonprofit news organizations risk losing their tax-exempt status for reporting on and exposing Sen. Wiener’s and Democrats’ legislation, much of which is antithetical to religious families, violations of parental rights, exposing children to unsuitable, graphic sex curriculum, and student sexual harassment, as the Globe has reported?
“While the FTB is currently directed to suspend the tax exemption of a nonprofit supporting international terrorism, there is no clear, explicit authority concerning nonprofits that support insurrection,” Wiener’s bill analysis says. “SB 834 will ensure that nonprofit organizations engaged in insurrection-related offenses will be held to the same standard as those that engage in or support international terrorist activity, and also have their exemption revoked.”
So far, SB 834 has passed four Senate committees, and out of the Senate, 28-0 (12 abstentions recorded). The bill is now in the Assembly awaiting committee hearings.
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