Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2414683
 


 



Speaking Up: The Challenges to Section 501(C)(3)'s Political Activities Prohibition in a Post-Citizens United World


Hannah Lepow


Independent

March 25, 2014

Columbia Business Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission there is still one type of corporation that cannot engage in political speech: the nonprofit corporation. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prevents nonprofit corporations that hold tax-exempt status from participating in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for political office.” Recent events - for example the nonprofit political activity in the 2012 election, the 2013 IRS targeting scandal, and the notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments to change the current IRS regulations - show a growing call to reform this provision, called the political activities prohibition.

This Note examines different constitutional challenges to the political activities prohibition, including First Amendment challenges and potential selective prosecution challenges stemming from the IRS’ alleged uneven enforcement of the prohibition. This Note concludes that the political activities prohibition should not be eliminated, and proposes agency regulations the IRS and the Treasury Department should pursue to ensure even enforcement of the prohibition.

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: March 26, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Lepow, Hannah, Speaking Up: The Challenges to Section 501(C)(3)'s Political Activities Prohibition in a Post-Citizens United World (March 25, 2014). Columbia Business Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2414683

Contact Information

Hannah Lepow (Contact Author)
Independent ( email )
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