Glenn Beck doesn't understand 501(c)(3) groups

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In attempting to explain how George Soros has used his nefarious puppet-master powers to pull on the strings of politicians and get them to add to his power, Glenn Beck exposes that he has no idea what a 501(c)(3) non-profit group is or what they do.

Beck attributes the creation of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation to a speech Soros gave at Columbia University in 1994, in which he expressed a desire to "Do something about the distortion of our electoral process by the excessive use of TV advertising":

This is straight from the ravings of anti-Soros writer Richard Poe, and it seems like an extremely poor case of assuming that correlation means causation. Soros' speech happened in 1994, and McCain-Feingold was first proposed in 1995, but Feingold didn't even take office until 1993. Moreover, there are a wealth of articles in Nexis documenting Feingold's support for campaign finance legislation prior to Soros' speech, as well as how he campaigned on reform during his 1992 run for the Senate. But those facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Beck goes on to explain how McCain-Feingold was designed to bolster Soros' power by increasing the power of 501(c)(3) groups, "which can advertise at will":

The irony -- if it is -- is that McCain-Feingold ultimately led to the explosion of 501(c)(3) through groups, which can advertise at will. 501(c)(3) groups. Oh! 501(c)(3) groups? You mean like Sojourners, or Color for Change, or the Tides Foundation, or Media Matters, or People for the American Way, or Center for American Progress, the Apollo Alliance, Ella Saker [sic] for Human Rights. You mean those things?

You see, we had the McCain-Feingold Act, and then mysteriously, almost unbeknownst to everyone, those groups became very powerful, much more powerful. And guess who controls most of the most powerful? George Soros.

The "irony," of course, is that 501(c)(3) groups CAN'T "advertise at will." In fact, they are banned by federal law from "directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office." This is why, for instance, funds its political activities through a political action committee, while the Center for American Progress does not run political ads.

Glenn Beck
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