[Wikimedia-l] Russian Wikipedia goes on strike

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Thu Jul 12 16:19:34 UTC 2012

On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 6:38 AM, Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org> wrote:
>>> I'm not speaking for WMF, but I don't see the connection here.
>> The connection is free speech.
> Analytically, however, the issue raised by Citizens United is not
> simply an issue of free speech. It centers on the precise question of
> what role corporate expenditures can play in elections.

The law in question was with respect to "electioneering
communications", which the court held was speech.

> It does not
> address the question of whether corporations can engage in political
> activity.

"Political activity" is awfully broad.  The ruling was primarily
concerned with political speech.

>>> Wikimedia Foundation, as a corporation, is profoundly regulated in
>>> what it can and cannot do politically
>> What regulations are you referring to?  Corporations can't *deduct*
>> certain political expenditures.  But what are the profound regulations
>> on what it can do politically?
> See, e.g., http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/limits-political-campaigning-501c3-nonprofits-29982.html
> and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicl03.pdf.

First of all, you selectively quoted me, cutting out the part where I
made it obvious that I was talking about regulations that apply to
corporations in general.  I specifically pointed out that there are
regulations which apply to 501(c)(3) organizations.

Furthermore, I think it's a bit misleading to say that a 501(c)(3) is
prohibited from engaging in these activities.  IRC 501(c)(3) *defines*
a certain type of organization, which does not engage in certain types
of political activities.  Saying that a 501(c)(3) is prohibited from
engaging in certain political activities is like saying that a virgin
is prohibited from having sex.  If a virgin has sex, they cease to be
a virgin.  If a 501(c)(3) organization engages in "prohibited"
political activities, it ceases to be a 501(c)(3).

> I'm unaware of the Wikimedia Foundation's attempting to influence an
> election.

Surely you understand that one need not be directly affected by the
exact law being challenged to have a great interest in free speech
rights being upheld.

If you prohibit corporations from attempting to influence an election,
what's the big leap from prohibiting them from attempting to influence

> But perhaps you're making a one of those "obvious" (excuse me, I mean
> "quite obvious") connections that is too subtle for me to follow.

I guess so.

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