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A Familiar Stench

While it's all kinds of fun to gloat over John Edwards finally admitting that he's the sleazebag so many of us have known he is, there's a far more important matter that's breaking today. There's a group called "Accountable America," apparently an offshoot of MoveOn.org, and they've organized as a 527 group to express their interest in the current election.

More specifically, they are sending out warning letters to Republican donors.

I'm sorry. That's not quite accurate.

They're sending out ** WARNING ** letters to people who have contributed heavily to Republicans, the Republican party, and Republican causes.

I've read over the letter (and I'm posting a transcript in the extended section), and it's frighteningly familiar.

What it reminds me of is what has happened numerous times in Communist dictatorships and other totalitarian regimes. Dissenters -- those who dare to be on the "wrong" side -- are rounded up and sent off to "re-education camps" for not abiding to the orthodoxy.

As angry as I am, though, I think these assholes have a point, and I would very much like to see what they are calling for happen -- but not to their chosen targets.

I'd like to see the various and sundry federal law enforcement agencies take a very, very close look at "Accountable America."

I also believe that the Federal Elections Commission might have an interest in this attempt to influence elections.

There, we have four federal agencies. That ought to do for a start.


First up, they say -- both in the letter and on their web site -- that they are "non-partisan." But if you look at the source code of their site, it says something entirely different: "[meta name='description' content="Dedicated to electing Democrats to the state legislature across America" /]
[meta name='keywords' content="Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee DLCC state legislature Democrats electing Democrats" /]

if they're incorporated as a non-partisan group, as they claim to be, then that seems to me to be a clear-cut case of fraud. Cue the IRS.

Second, their letter is clearly intended to discourage people from contributing money to Republican causes. It's been repeatedly shown that donating money is a form of political speech, and they're trying to intimidate people from participating in the electoral process. Someone let the Civil Rights divisions of the Department of Justice and the FBI know about this.

Third, if a single one of these letters was mailed out, then the US Postal Service has a stake in it, too.

I have a hell of a lot more to say, and in that one the language will be quite unpleasant, so I'm going to save that for a followup piece.

This one's all over the blogosphere, but Michelle Malkin seems to have the best info so far.

Accountable America

** WARNING **

August 8, 2008

Dear Republican Supporter:

In recent years federal law enforcement agencies have taken a more aggressive stance against non-party, non-candidate organizations that engage in activities that migh affect elections to public office. Accountable America, a non-partisan, non-profit group, is writing to make sure you are aware of some of the recent developments that may affect your decision-making concerning these organizations.

1. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced new policies to examine the political activities of certain tax-exempt Section 501(c) organizations. You can read the IRS internal memorandum on this subject at this link: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/2008_paci_program_letter.pdf

2. Many of the leading donors to 501(c) and 527 organizations have had their business and personal affairs closely scrutinized by the media and well-funded "watchdog" groups. These groups -- as well as the major political parties and candidates -- have routinely filed complaints with the IRS and the FEC about 501(c) and 527 group activities. These increasingly aggressive tactics have prompted several liberal and Democratic-leaning groups to disband or curtail their activities.

3) The landscape of Section 501(c) organizations that are already the subjects of complaints filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Election Commission or both, and that could trigger scrutiny of their donors, include: Freedom's Watch and Americans for job Security.

4. If a Section 501(c)(3),(c)(4) or (c)(6) organization is found to have the improper primary purpose of influencing elections it could face:

i. Fines.
ii. Public exposure of anonymous donors.
iii. Loss of tax-exempt status.
iv. Levy of unpaid taxes and interest.
v. Criminal penalties.

5. If a Section 527 group exceeds just $1,000 in federal contributions or expenditures, and has as its major purpose influencing federal elections, then it too can face fines and criminal penalties, as well as reclassification as a federal PAC, which would render most or all of the contributions it had received as unlawful transactions by both the 527 group and its donors.

6. And, an IRS or FEC investigation of a group could involve examination of its relationships with its donors and their activities.

7. Accountable America is offering a $100,000 reward to encourage whistle-blowers and and others with information about unlawful conduct by business-oriented or conservative Section 501

8. Accountable America will publicize the political and business relationships and corrupt activities of donors to these 501(c) and 527 organizations both in the media and to shareholders of public companies where a donor is a major shareholder, director, or officer.

If you want to support your candidates of choice, the most secure way remains a hard-dollar contribution. The maximum donation is $2.300 per election.

This letter does not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own attorney and accountant, especially experts in campaign finance and non-profit law and tax accounting.

Sincerely.

Accountable America, Inc.
Washington, DC


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Comments (15)

Sounds like the same "organ... (Below threshold)

Sounds like the same "organizing" methods Obama used to get his Illinois State Senate opponents disqualified.

With apologies to my many good friends in Chicago, there are some things in Illinois that should be quarantined.

Wow...they must have... (Below threshold)
dr lava:


Wow...they must have some former GOP staffers. I heard alot of them have jumped ship.

Have you ever looked up thee word "malkin" in the dictionary?

lava has a dictionary?... (Below threshold)

lava has a dictionary?

A *WARNING* it may be but d... (Below threshold)
Nif Melo:

A *WARNING* it may be but doesn't look like anything illegal. Quite the opposite, it appears to be a very well scripted and highly informative note. Reminding your fellow's of legal consequences could even be portrayed as a civic duty. You'd be well advised to pay heed since what they're saying is that they intend to uncover illegal and corrupt activities. Knowing someone's watching over your shoulder perhaps you won't be tempted to break the law.

Of course we could just do away with all laws concerning political fundraising. That'd suit me fine.

lava has a dictio... (Below threshold)
Maggie:
lava has a dictionary?

Hugh, and he still can't spell.

If they applied for a tax e... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

If they applied for a tax exemption under the organization makeup they 'claim' they have big IRS and USJD problems. Wonder if any IRS/Justice department workers read the blogs or do we need to drop a dime.

"Accountable America is off... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

"Accountable America is offering a $100,000 reward to encourage whistle-blowers and and others with information about unlawful conduct by business-oriented or conservative Section 501"

This reward is in writing and as most know there are hundreds of 'liberal' organizations violating fed tax laws. Drop a dime and collect $100,000 from a 'liberal' slime organization + the IRS sometimes pays a percentage of money collected from income tax fraud. Easy money for someone with time on their hands.

All I can say is that this ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

All I can say is that this is going to blow up in their faces badly. Nothing motivates Americans so much as being intimidated by halfwit morons.

Postmarked:Gaza... (Below threshold)
RScott:

Postmarked:Gaza

When are you going to admit... (Below threshold)
Allen:

When are you going to admit that Vitter is also a sleaze bag? He's the one that wore diapers when he was with the whores.

Both political parties have some sleaze bags in them, some get caught, some don't. Do you get a kick promoting one side of a political party?

Or can you come out and admit basis because of the person in questions political stand?

Why not just forget about these idiots that play around on their wifes. It works both ways, so if you are going to gloat about Edwards, you should also talk about Vitter and Foley, and Craig, the Duke, cold cash Jefferson, etc.

Ok, I have donated and work... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigae:

Ok, I have donated and worked for Republican campaigns for at least 15 years.

I have stepped back, because as a STRONG conservative I have not been too happy with the GOP as of late.

Then comes along a group of little weasel crapbags like Accountable America who want to issue **WARNINGS**...HA!

I'm sending checks out first thing Monday, to the RNC, McCain, and other candidates that I see fit.

Accountable America and other liberals should be careful about giving **WARNINGS**.
pffft.. lmao...goofballs..

One of the companies sellin... (Below threshold)
Bob:

One of the companies selling services to represent delinquent taxpayers says that fear of the IRS is the no. 1 fear in America. Whether that's true, there's no doubt that Americans have some fear of the IRS, and it appears that "Accountable America" is trying to tap into that fear. I hope that this backfires on them in one of the ways Jay suggests.

what a surprise..a Southern... (Below threshold)
larry pinnmann:

what a surprise..a Southern Torte Lawyer misbehaving badly. Stepping out on your wife while she is ill with Cancer??..what a stand-up douchebagg. Edwards is a "self-made" Man allright. Tragic the few choices we have in this election. We can elect a young guy with no experience at all and no common sense or a American hero who was tortured for years at the hanoi hilton. Obama will join the ranks of Kerry, Dukakis, Muskie. Fame lasts 15 minutes.Infamy last awhile longer.

Maybe he learned the steppi... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Maybe he learned the stepping out on the wife while she has cancer trick from Newt Gingrich. Only difference is Edwards didn't start a divorce proceeding while his wife was in the hospital.

By the way lawyers don't bake "tortes" (at least for a living) they sue for torts.

looks like they've cleaned ... (Below threshold)
jason:

looks like they've cleaned up their source code. hope you got a screen shot and sent it to someone who can do something about it, jay tea.




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