by Tim Brown, Freedom OutPost:
One thing is clear though, the more the attacks come against the NRA, the more the contributions flow into their organization, which means that people like Brunson are only helping to arm the NRA with the money they need to destroy their opposition.
A professor of law at Loyola University Chicago took it upon himself to blast the National Rifle Association over its non-profit status, engaging in lobbying, education, and the media.
All of those things are perfectly legal under their non-profit status, but Samuel Brunson, writing at The Conversation and also republished at Yahoo News writes, “… the NRA may sometimes let donations flow too freely between its affiliates, as Yahoo News has reported, in ways that violate federal electoral laws.”
Yet, there have been no charges. Furthermore, Brunson doesn’t even take the time to write about and investigate whether “anti-NRA memes implying that the nonprofit abuses its tax-exempt” are true or not.
Apparently, he thinks they are valid and wants to promote such statements without actually demonstrating violation of the law.
The NRA is actually a bundle of organizations. The largest one, in terms of how much it spends, is the National Rifle Association of America. Originally formed in 1871, this NRA branch claims to have about 5 million members, although some investigative reporters question that assertion.
It has operated as a social welfare organization since 1944.
Like public charities, these groups, are exempt from taxation on the money they take in. Also known as 501(c)(4), based on language in the tax code, they differ from public charities in a few ways.
First, donors to social welfare organizations can’t deduct their gifts from their taxable income. Second, these organizations may support and oppose political candidates. Third, social welfare organizations can engage in unlimited lobbying, as long as that effort to sway lawmakers and policymakers is related to their core mission.
Like charities, social welfare groups must spend all their revenue on work tied to their mission or shoring up their endowments. They can’t, in other words, distribute any profits left over after paying their bills to their leaders, their funders or anyone else.
The NRA has five main missions: protecting the Second Amendment, promoting public safety, training for marksmanship and gun safety, promoting competitive shooting and improving hunter safety. Among other things, it publishes the American Rifleman, American Hunter, America’s 1st Freedom and Shooting Illustrated magazines and produces NRATV programs. It also has a lobbying arm, created in 1975, called the Institute for Legislative Action.
In 2016 this social welfare group raised almost US$337 million in revenue, with about half coming from membership dues. The rest largely came from its media operations, donations and grants. It draws a growing share of its income, reportedly, from gunmakers rather than gunowners.
Far from a “social welfare” organization, the NRA receives tax exempt status just like other organizations that do virtually the same thing it does, but it doesn’t receive federal dollars like real social welfare organizations listed below. While Brunson wants to claim that they don’t pay taxes on “income” like churches and other organizations, the reality is that no single person incurs income as the NRA.
Second, I’m sure our founders would be up in arms, literally, over the issue of the income tax. They would have clearly understood it as a form of tyranny to rob the people of their property.