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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Silence of the Schumer
Reverend Al Sharpton holding up tax documents at press conference at National Action Network headquartersPhoto: David McGlynn
By Post Editorial Board
It wasn’t so long ago Chuck Schumer was obsessing over the idea that the tax code was being abused for partisan purposes.
Back in March 2012, he and six fellow Democratic senators wrote the IRS demanding more scrutiny for 501(c)4 groups who claimed they were involved in “social welfare” but were “devoted chiefly to political election activities who operate behind a facade of charity work.”
Later, the IRS started singling out conservative organizations for special treatment and delay.
But times have changed. Now we have a story in The New York Times about an individual deeply involved in politics who has a 501(c)4 that, as the Times puts it, appears to rank “among the most delinquent nonprofit organizations in the nation.”
The individual: the Rev. Al Sharpton. His organization: the National Action Network, which has failed to pay payroll taxes over the years. Sharpton says this wasn’t intentional but stemmed from a dispute on how to classify some independent contractors.
Nonetheless, Sharpton still flies first class and collects a nice salary from NAN as he zips between New York, Ferguson, Mo., and Washington, DC.
As the Times also reports, it’s the “kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general recently characterized as ‘abusive’ or ‘potentially criminal’ if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.”
Considering how eager Sen. Schumer was to ensure 501(c)4’s weren’t gaming the tax system, we felt sure we would hear the senator thumping loudly for the IRS to take a hard look at the National Action Network.