OK, so look through this brochure for private membership to ALEC and guess if it is either:
a) A group that provides access to legislators for purposes of influencing legislation as its primary objective.
b) A group for which lobbying and attempting to affect legislation can not be a primary objective.
click on the pictures to enlarge view ..
Behold the budget hawks in the GOP / Tea Party. They get the American taxpayers to help subsidize their politics by finagling 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for their right wing lobbying organizations. And ALEC goes way beyond just lobbying for legislation. They write the wording used in the legislation and then turn it over to their conservative members in the legislatures so they can be officially entered as Bills. This is outsourced democracy. The whole thing stinks to high heaven and there is no good argument why this organization or others like it deserve the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status which is a taxpayer subsidy. Their entire mission is lobbying. They have made a farce out of the 501(c)(3) law and blatantly disregard the IRS guidelines.
Here is an excerpt from the IRS site Exemption Requirements - Section 501(c)(3) Organizations
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.I would love to hear the ALEC lawyer weasel word a detour around the simple explanation from the IRS that excludes action organizations from having a tax-exempt status. The IRS should eliminate their 501(c)(3) status AND make it a point to go after back taxes from people who fraudulently claimed ALEC private membership fees as a charitable contribution. When you get something tangible in return, its not a donation.
Oh, and I checked at the IRS site, and yes ALEC is still has a legitimate tax-exempt status. Here is the screenshot..