When is a nice charity no longer a nice charity?

When it’s really a 501(c)4 on the sly.

The more I learn about Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin, Inc., the more frustrated I become. The law written to manage a 501(c)4 organization is purposeful and complete. The law is specifically managed to separate these political advocacy groups from other charities known as 501(c)3. The charities are prohibited from influencing elections. This group’s entire purpose is to influence elections and legislation.

Draw this line: Kevin Fischer, aide to State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) is the Master of Ceremonies for a fund raiser titled “Leap into Action and Celebrate Safe Kids.” The group organizing the fund raiser is Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin, Inc., a 501(c)4 organization that is a stealth PAC formed to influence political elections and legislation. Lazich is on record supporting the type of legislation this group formed to support.

In effect Fischer is working for the the group from which his boss will probably benefit.

Don’t for a minute rip on me (again) about how I hate the poor little children. The children in the state of Wisconsin suffer tremendously from fake do-gooders like this group. I don’t tolerate it because this type of fake adoration for children’s safety draws funds from groups that actually DO SOMETHING about children’s safety, not just hand money to politicians to talk about it. (Think United Way and Catholic Charities.)

Citizens for a Safe Wisconsin, Inc., (notice the word “children” is not in that name) will continue to draw my ire as long as they pull stunts like this:

*Describe the group as a “charity” as one blogger closely affiliated with the group has done.

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*Fail to place the disclaimer on their Web site that contributions are not tax deductible.

*Advertise for their political event on the City of Franklin Web site. It’s no different than endorsing a candidate with taxpayer dollars according to the law.

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Of course we all want safe children. I happen to also want transparent government. CFSW, Inc. tramples the second in the guise of promoting the first. The group’s techniques should not be tolerated.

By the way, Wikipedia does a fair job of explaining the 503(c) corporate structures.

Update – corrections made February 8 upon demand from CFSW, Inc. counsel and Vice-President John H. Pellman.