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E-M:/ IRS, non-profits and internet

Enviro-Mich message from Terry Lodge <tjlodge50@yahoo.com>

   Eric, I suspect this is a right-wing planted rumor.
When I saw this same notice several weeks ago, I found
that there is no mention whatever of "Annoucement
2000-84"  at the IRS' website. The IndyMedia site
mentioned shows "error", and the Tech Journal citation
refers only to Dick Armey's website as the only source
of this. I don't know who "OMB Watch" is, but it
essentially reproduces the notice I found at Armey's
base, without citation anywhere else (and not to the
IRS website).

   I can find no mention of this First
Amendment-destroying "proposal" in any of the online
rightist literature (and I use the word loosely), such
as the Sierra Times.

   I believe "Announcement 2000-84" is a hoax,
calculated to keep the Patriots stoked.

                Terry Lodge

--- Eric Uram <eric.uram@sierraclub.org> wrote:
> For all you non-profit folks, a forwarded message
> of interest -
> The IRS is exploring whether it should monitor
> nonprofit websites
> and hold them responsible for the political
> activities of the sites
> they link to, and for what is said in their chat
> rooms and online
> conferences and listservs.  The IRS might then
> consider revoking
> the tax exempt status of nonprofits who engage
> (through these
> links and online comments) in nonexempt activities
> (like intervening
> in election campaigns or lobbying for or against
> legislation).
> Although the IRS has only said it is "considering
> issuing guidance
> that would clarify the application of code
> provisions governing
> exempt organizations to activities they conduct on
> the Internet"
> and stresses that no final decision has been made
> on either the
> need for such guidance or what position IRS should
> take, there is
> valid concern over the contraints this would place
> on nonprofit use
> of the Internet.  In particular, since the IRS has
> occasionally been
> used by political authorities to harrass political
> activists, we should
> note that this sort of internet regulation could
> provide a particularly
> useful tool for that purpose.
> The IRS is accepting comments on this subject
> until February 13,
> 2001. Since it would seriously constrain
> citizenship on the Internet
> I consider it worthy of action by anyone concerned
> about
> democracy or collective intelligence.  Both
> nonprofits and active
> citizens can speak up about this.
> Anthony Tofanelli referred me to an alert
> regarding this that was
> posted on the Independent Media Center website
> http://www.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=1
> 1680
> which in turn linked to a Tech Law Journal site
> http://www.techlawjournal.com/agencies/irs/interne
> t/20001016.asp
> which provides the full IRS Request for Comments.
> Since the IRS document is apparently not available
> on the IRS
> website (and Tech Law Journal got it from Rep.
> Armey's office), I
> looked for a second source, and found one:
> http://www.ombwatch.org/npadv/2000/eocomment.html
> This is the site of OMB Watch, which tracks the
> federal Office of
> Management and the Budget and the issues they deal
> with.  Their
> site provides an excellent questionnaire which
> nonprofits can use
> to clarify their own thinking on this IRS proposal
> and to give OMB
> Watch guidance on how to dialogue with the IRS
> about it.  This
> questionnaire is on
> http://www.ombwatch.org/npadv/2000/eonetprinciples
> .html
> Individual or organizational public comments can
> be emailed to
> TE/GE-Exempt-2@irs.gov
> or mailed to:
>                            Internal Revenue
> Service
>                            1111 Constitution Ave.,
> NW
>                            Washington, DC 20224
>                            Attn: Judith E. Kindell
>                            Regarding Document: IRS
> Announcement 2000-
> 84,
> Dated October 16.
>                            DEADLINE: February 13,
> 2001.

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