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February 15, 2012 Media Matters tax-exempt status may face new scrutiny from congress


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media-matters-tax-exempt-status-may-face-new-scrutiny-from-congressDaily Caller:

Congressional Republicans are now interested in examining the Media Matters For America‘s tax-exempt status, The Daily Caller has learned. Doing so would cause the GOP to wade into the complex world of tax laws that govern “exempt organizations” such as Media Matters and more than 1 million other charitable organizations that are exempt from federal income tax.

Media Matters’ critics have questioned its tax-exempt status for some time. The Internal Revenue Service has a series of requirements that must be met before organizations can qualify. Successful applicants pay no federal income tax because the government presumes such charities perform services that benefit the public. Donors also may deduct their charitable contributions.

One central requirement before an organization like Media Matters can achieve the gold-standard nonprofit status — known by its place in the tax code, Section 501©(3) – is that it may not “attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities” or “participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

But the law, and how it is implemented, is complex.

“Tax benefits to charitable organizations are three-fold: exemption from federal income tax, tax-deductible contributions, and tax-exempt bonds,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.Scissors-32x32.png

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Media Matters and its lobbying arm Media Matters Action Network raked in $14.6 million in 2010, compared with $8.1 million in 2009.


half of the groups earnings in 2010 came from just 21 donors, including two unidentified contributors who gave more than $1 million apiece.


Some of the donations came with conditions. For instance, more than $600,000 of it was restricted for use in "gun and public safety issues," according to the article. Incidentally, the Daily Caller reported earlier in the week that Brock's assistant sometimes carried a gun to events to protect his boss despite laws in Washington, D.C., prohibiting concealed carry.


Media Matters' tax-exempt status is based on its designation as a 501©3, which prevents it from trying to influence legislation or assist in political campaigns for or against candidates. In a report by the DC earlier this week, Media Matters was shown to hold weekly strategy meetings with the White House.


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