Sean Elijah Le Van, an undergraduate student at Columbia University, raises an important point about Planned Parenthood potentially violating 501(c)(3) Federal Law by publicly opposing candidates. Le Van argues that this violation should lead to the organization losing its tax-exempt status, which is typically reserved for churches and charities. He highlights the case of The Church at Pierce Creek, which lost its tax-exempt status in 1993 for opposing President Clinton. Although our hyper-politicized IRS is unlikely to take action, it is important to bring attention to such offenses.
Planned Parenthood, a 501(c)(3) organization with a net worth of $2 billion, benefits from tax breaks due to its nonprofit status. However, under Title 26 of the United States Code of Laws, section 501, subsection c(3), organizations with this classification are prohibited from participating in or intervening in political campaigns. The IRS explicitly states that making public statements, whether indirectly or directly, in opposition to any candidate for public office is not allowed.
Le Van points out instances where Planned Parenthood expressed vocal and written opposition to President Trump and other Republicans during active campaigns. He provides examples of statements released by Planned Parenthood that criticize Republican candidates, including President Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ted Cruz. These statements appear to violate the prohibition against political campaign activity outlined in the 501(c)(3) statute.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is identified as the source of these public statements. It is important to note that while Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the organization’s political activism arm, is permitted to make statements under its 501(c)(4) classification as a social welfare organization, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as a 501(c)(3), is not allowed to engage in such political activity. This suggests that the publication of these statements contradicts the regulations set forth for 501(c)(3) organizations.
Although the IRS website specifies that violating the prohibition on political campaign activity may result in the denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of excise taxes, it is unlikely that the IRS will take action against Planned Parenthood. The agency has been known to prioritize its own agenda, as evidenced by its focus on raiding gun shops and seizing purchaser records rather than enforcing the statute against its political allies.
Despite the lack of immediate consequences, it is essential to continue highlighting such violations in the hope that the United States will return to a sense of fairness and adherence to the law. We extend our gratitude to Mr. Le Van for bringing attention to this issue and reminding us to remain focused on what is right.