Morality In Media: Another Tax Exemption Example

Recent news has centered on some political advocacy groups who would not be normally entitled to tax exempt status if they stated their true purpose on tax return forms as political advocacy groups. Some of these groups recently became part of the claimed “IRS Scandal” when maybe as few as two IRS agents, out of an organization with 106,000 employees asked for some additional questions from some Tea Party groups who were seeking tax exempt status as “social welfare groups”, although they offered no evidence of providing social welfare services or programs to the public and appeared to be political advocacy groups instead.  The fact is that many political advocacy groups that would not be entitled to tax exempt status is they honestly stated their organization’s true mission, yet still manage to operate as tax exempt organizations because of deliberate misstatements about their mission goals.

Back in December 1963, Morality In Media, a far right organization that antagonizes the entertainment industry, was given a positive ruling by the IRS allowing them to classify themselves as a sort of social service organization which claimed to offer activity to combat juvenile delinquency. Yet, there is no evidence that this organization offers any programs or services dealing with the issue of juvenile delinquency. The latest income records that can be publicly found for the organization states a tax-exempt income of  $540, 506, much of which was mostly paid to just a handful of  persons who run this organization including former Bush Administration Justice Department lawyer Patrick Trueman, who already has a respectable income from a separate law practice that he runs and Dawn Hawkins. About the only positive thing that can be said for Trueman is at least that he has been more forthright about this organization’s income from donations compared to the past leader of this organization, Robert Peters. This former longtime leader of this rightwing political advocacy group, Robert Peters, was usually not very forthright with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau to account for how donations to the organization were actually spent.  The Better Business Bureau had to make many requests for documents from this organization, that long acted like they were too busy to reply. Some years, the organization even received large government grants, tucked into the middle of appropriations bills by some congressman, claiming this group to be some leader to bringing down illegal or obscene pornography businesses. Yet, for many years that this organization received taxpayer grants,  it failed to bring a single illegal pornographic Website to prosecution by the federal government. The fact of the matter is that most adult Websites are legally operated by owners who pay their taxes compared to those that run Morality In Media who don’t pay taxes. Further, most adult entertainment business are legally licensed, take out the proper film permits, and truthfully state the nature of their business when they pay their taxes. Morality In Media falsely claims to be some antijuvenile delinquency organization to skirt paying taxes by comparison.

Morality In Media has long traded in absurd conspiracy theory thinking, falsely making associations between adult entertainment and crime or other social problems, even if no real proof or statistics may indicate any real connection.  Even one prominent Lutheran Minister who used to head the YMCA’s sex education department, has been a sharp critic of the absurd conspiracy theory thinking that pervadess Morality In Media’s absurdist political logic, claims and agenda. Salaries of MIM leaders still seem to swallow up the lion’s share of the organization’s donations and income. This organization mostly posts free of charge political posts on places like YouTube which don’t cost anything, so any actual overhead beyond salaries for MIM leaders is only incidental. Further, MIM tightly controls most of these  YouTube posts, immediately removing or banning persons like myself who have publicly questioned their finances, false claims or activities in posts.

Morality In Media also hides behind some claim of being an organization involved in the “art and humanities”. This is also another absurd claim. This isn’t the National Endowment For The Arts or something that we’re talking about it here. These are culturally ignorant persons, who don’t attend the latest movie releases, buy the latest cd’s and music, attend the theater or otherwise prove themselves to be anything other than culturally ignorant about entertainment, only there to condemn any media that is open to a sexual discussion. Morality In Media is run by petty and small people who fault culture and falsely blame culture for causing crime or other social ills. They have common roots in the old far right antiCommunist crusader Charles Keating, who was convinced that some corner drugstore that sold some od fashioned girlie magazine was aiding Communism. Keating was later sent to federal prison himself for role leading role in the Lincoln Savings & Loan Scandal and sought to influence some senators to avoid regulation called The Keating Five.  This negative view of culture by MIM, rooted in the old antiCommunist crusaders of the past is entirely different than some religious group such as those in the Jewish faith who view culture as God’s fingerprint in man, and encourage members of their faith to enrich the arts and culture of society.

It’s very difficult to see much logic in MIM’s attacks on mainstream culture such as their yearly complaint’s when grocery store newsstands offer for sale something like the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT issue. But, this is how absurdist this organization is, often behaving like their own self-parody. This year’s “Dirty Dozen” list by MIM, running after mainstream hotel chains that offer cable TV or retailers like Barnes & Noble went well beyond comedy. MIM just doesn’t understand how absurd they really are.

It all seems a little bit ironic that some self-appointed watchdogs of the public morality like Morality In Media had great difficulty being forthright about their finances, deliberately misstate their political mission to abuse tax exempt status meant for serious social service organizations such as the Salvation Army which actually has numerous helping services to offer it’s clients. The fact of the matter is that many persons work very hard each day to put food on the table for their children, and have to pay taxes while some tax exempt status abusers like Morality In Media make misleading claims to the IRS to operate organizations that rake in pretty good donations and even government grants, while failing to prove that their organizations have impacted society in a positive way.

What shouldn’t be lost in this claimed “IRS Scandal” debate is that some arrogant persons don’t want to pay taxes, so they make some misleading mission statements about their political advocacy organizations, falsely claiming to be some “social welfare organization”, even if no evidence exists that that’s their true mission. And many other honest taxpayers who work hard and pay their taxes, have to give these tax abusers and cheats a free ride.  The fact that some of these tax exempt status abusers have even gained any public sympathy at all recently is remarkable in itself. They aren’t social service or social welfare organizations as they claim, but simply persons who want to run tax exempt political advocacy groups and haul off nice big salaries for themselves, while paying as little taxes as possible. And they want us all to pay for it.

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