SCV and 501-C
Chuck and Mr. Parks,

An organization does not give up the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of speech and expression upon becoming a 501-C. Indeed, such an organization and its members can take a stand on any issue and not run afoul of the tax code.

What an organization may not do is ENDORSE CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE. However, it may present the candidates running with their stands and voting records on issues of interest!

So, the SCV can say, “We support the battle flag’s appearance.” That is just fine – no problem!

And they can also say, “Candidate Joe Blow, Democrat is against the battle flag’s appearance and Candidate Bill Mill, Republican is for the battle flag’s appearance.” That too is just fine.

What they cannot say – and remain tax exempt – is “We SUPPORT Candidate Bill Mill for his stand on the issue!”  If the SCV were to do that, they would become an advocacy, not an educational group and hence would no longer be tax exempt. Neither may they lobby as a group though their members certainly may do so as citizens. However, they may present “educational messages” to members of Congress as long as they do not ask – in the name of the SCV – that the politician vote one way or the other. Anything, however, that can be considered “educational” – including historical tracts, quotes, sources etc. – is well within the purview of a 501-C and is considered an attempt to assure that our “representatives” (ha!) “know the facts” of the issue.

It’s very simple really and it is easy for the SCV and the UDC and any other “heritage” group to make their position known on ANY issue without losing their tax exempt status. Furthermore, aside from one or two clueless folks, the vast majority of those in the SCV and the UDC know this very well! But when an issue is “controversial” and especially when the “race card” has been prominently played, the leadership simply trots out the IRS boogey man to silence any of their members who demand that these organizations do what they have been created to do: defend Southern history and heritage.

Valerie Protopapas