[Wikimedia-l] Russian Wikipedia goes on strike

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Thu Jul 12 18:34:06 UTC 2012

>>> As for WMF's tax status, I'm not going to talk about that -- I simply
>>> pointed out that 501(c) organizations are regulated.
>> 501(c) *is a tax status*.  501(c)(3) is a subset of that tax status.
> So? I gave you pointers to regs for 501(c)(3), (c)(4), etc.

Well, no, you didn't.  But I know where the regulations for 501(c)(3),
(c)(4), etc. are, since dealing with treasury regulations is what I do
for a living.

I also explained to you that IRC 501(c)(3) does not prohibit certain
corporations from performing certain actions, rather it *defines*
certain corporations which do not perform certain actions.  I figured
you would confirm this by reading the code.  However, I'll quote it
for you.  First, I'll quote 501(a):

"An organization described in subsection (c) or (d) orsection 401 (a)
shall be exempt from taxation under this subtitle unless such
exemption is denied under section 502 or 503."

Now, the beginning of 501(c):

"The following organizations are referred to in subsection (a):"

And now, 501(c)(3)

"Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized
and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific,
testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to
foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only
if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic
facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children
or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit
of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the
activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise
attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in
subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in
(including the publishing or distributing of statements), any
political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate
for public office."

The code doesn't say that 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from
intervening in political campaigns, rather it says that organizations
which intervene in political campaigns *are not 501(c)(3)

As you will know if you've read the recent court cases, there is a
difference between prohibiting an action, and subjecting it to certain

>>> I'm entirely comfortable with The New York Times Company (a
>>> corporation) and its efforts to influence the outcome of elections
>>> (e.g., through candidate endorsements; I wouldn't want to prohibit The
>>> New York Times Company from political speech.
>> And fortunately, Citizens United helped protect their right to do so.
> That is certainly the ACLU's view (if I recall correctly), and I
> appreciate that view, although I think the problem of the corrupting
> influence of corporate expenditures remains, and I still think it's
> possible, per the whole line of Supreme Court cases leading up through
> Citizens United, to regulate the problem of election-targeted
> expenditures constitutionally.  (In short, I slightly disagree with
> ACLU's position, but only slightly.)
> What this has to do with WMF or the Russian-language Wikimedians'
> activism is still beyond me, however.

Nothing.  My comment was about a proposed constitutional amendment to
overturn Citizen United, and I gave that as an example of something
that is even more important than PIPA for Wikipedians to protest.

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