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« Sell it | Main | It's Pat »

Dec 06, 2012

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Vigilarus

How about a white elephant for the booster circus to ride around on?

Hartzman

"sell it to the public."

Like when Action Greensboro gave $70,000 to promote the School bond vote in 2008 that took Guilford County's debt over $1 billion.

I think Action Greensboro gave $10,500 to promote the Quarter Cent Tax Increase in 2010.

So if the initial $275,000 plus spent by taxpayers to promote it to themselves hasn't worked so far, how much could it take?

The elimination of most comments at the N&R is a good start. Castrating online opposition by the paper of record should give the proponents a clear advantage going forward.

Roch

Is your point, George, that, if a group is going to try to influence a bond referendum, they must register as a political action committee?

Hartzman

I was being sarcastic.

I thought of the other two "promotions" because a lot of the names of the proponents correspond to the GPAC task force.

Roch

But didn't those previous efforts run afoul of elections law because they did not organize political action committees? I seem to recall that.

Hartzman

I remember Action Greensboro giving the Simkins PAC $5,000.

Keith was all over it.

Good question on the legality.

Was it legal for DGI to promote it?

The Community Foundation?

Hartzman

"The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro is a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening the community for present and future generations. The Community Foundation promotes philanthropy, builds and maintains a permanent collection of endowment funds and serves as a trustworthy partner and leader in shaping effective responses to community issues and opportunities."

501(c)(3)

They clearly engaged in lobbying.

All funds towards lobbying have to be taxed.

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/561/380/2010-561380249-07715c4b-9.pdf

They lobbied local government so they don't have to register.
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"Exemption Requirements - Section 501(c)(3)

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...

...The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

...If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct."

IRS
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The second regime applies to IRC 501(c)(3) private foundations. Under this regime, any expenditures incurred for lobbying activities are treated as taxable expenditures under IRC 4945(d)(1) and subject to the tax imposed by IRC 4945(a)...

"In light of the fact that tax exemption is a privilege, a matter of
grace rather than right, we hold that the limitations contained in
section 501(c)(3) withholding exemption from nonprofit
corporations do not deprive [501(c)(3)] of [thier] constitutionally
guaranteed right of freedom of speech. The taxpayer may engage
in all such activities without restraint, subject, however, to
withholding of the exemption, or, in the alternative, the taxpayer
may refrain from such activities and obtain the privilege of
exemption. . . . The congressional purposes evidenced by the 1934
and 1954 amendments are clearly constitutionally justified in
keeping with the separation and neutrality principles particularly
applicable in this case and, more succinctly, the principle that the
government shall not subsidize, directly or indirectly, those
organizations whose substantial activities are directed toward the
accomplishment of legislative goals or the election or defeat of
particular candidates. 470 F.2d at 857."

1. What is the general meaning
of the term legislation?”

Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(ii) provides that
the term legislation” includes action by the
Congress, by any State legislature, by any local
council or similar governing body, or by the
public in a referendum, initiative, constitutional
amendment, or similar procedure.”

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicp97.pdf
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Boom.

Hartzman

Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(ii) states that an organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it does the following:

(A) Contacts, or urges the public to contact, members of a legislative body for
the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or

(B) Advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

Eric Robert

George has a point....sorry for the redirect but don t know how to post photos here.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=312987552127304&set=pb.167087546717306.-2207520000.1354844647&type=3&theater

Hartzman

I can't see how Ross Harris' salary can be paid for
with taxpayer deducted money.

I believe that cost should be fully taxed to the Foundation.

When Walker Sanders said the $200,000 was dependent on the city money,
...if that's not true...,
could he have defrauded city council while lobbying
funded with deducted taxpayer money?

Does the Community Foundation look like it lobbied the City of Greensboro,
and appear to have done so with tax free money
deducted from donor's tax returns?

Did DGI do the same?

Hartzman

What does lobbying sound like;

"Charge to the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro:

In January 2012, the Greensboro City Council asked The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro to put together a diverse, representative, and community-wide task force to study the economic feasibility of a downtown performing arts center.

The Task Force was specifically charged with:

Creating an open, candid and constructive dialogue around the needs of a performing arts center;
Creating an economic impact report and a feasibility analysis of a downtown facility; and
Exploring using private investment to complement public resources

...Council asked the Task Force to begin work in several new areas
that were not part of its original charge,
so the new charge to the Task Force is as follows:

Building design, site determination and capital cost refinement

Operating model, including a plan to provide a recurring revenue stream
for Greensboro arts system’s infrastructure and operations

Financing options for the project

On August 21, 2012, The Greensboro City Council
voted in favor of committing an additional $200,500 for design and professional work
on a proposed $60 million performing arts center for downtown.

Economic Impact of Greensboro Performing Arts Center

The Greensboro Performing Arts Center Task Force
hired AMS Planning and Research Corporation
to create an economic impact report...

...The report said that a proposed downtown Greensboro performing arts center
would generate $7-$10 million in annual economic impact
and create 268 jobs.

Additionally, there would be a one-time economic impact of $28.6 million
from the construction of the facility, and create 1277 jobs.

Further, AMS found that a Greensboro facility
would need to provide a diverse mix of community and local arts productions,
touring Broadway shows, concerts, lectures and special performances.

Projected annual attendance would exceed 300,000."

http://gpac2012.com/about-gpac/charge-from-city-council/

Hartzman

If the $20 million pledged is dependent on the $40 million lobbied for
by the Community Foundation,
how is it that the $20 million is tax deductible to the donors,
especially if it flows through the Community Foundation?

Did the Community Foundation tell all the donors
their contributions would be deductible?

That would mean the $20 million put up for the $40 million taxpayer dollars
isn't really $20 million, because it is deducted,
the federal government, meaning everyone else
would be paying about a third of the $20 million
via taxes and debt to make up for a deduction used to lobby government
which appears to not be legal.

Ron

Yes they do need to updated the GPAC 2012 website. They haven't even uploaded the renderings with detail spec info about the PAC which is something I'm sure the public would want to see. The people want to know why this facility is costing $60 million.

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