National Review risks non-profit status

Justin Raimondo observes that Rich Lowry appears to have committed a serious legal blunder, as well as the obvious political one, with the “Stop Trump” issue:

The publication of a special “Stop Trump” issue of National Review was heralded in a blaze of publicity. Editor Rich Lowry appeared on Fox News and was interviewed by Trump nemesis Megyn Kelly, where he proceeded to denounce The Donald as a threat to the intellectual integrity of the conservative movement….

All well and good: there are plenty of reasons for principled conservatives (and libertarians) to oppose Trump. However, there’s one big problem with this well-publicized blast at The Donald.

In March of last year, Politico reported that National Review was becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which would enable it to solicit tax-deductible donations: “Since its launch, the magazine has operated as a not-for-profit business, even as it came to rely on more and more donations in recent years. Starting next month, it will become a nonprofit organization, which will make it exempt from federal taxes. National Review also plans to merge with the nonprofit National Review Institute, its sister organization, according to a source with knowledge of the plans.”

Rich Lowry averred that the shift would be good for the magazine, which was fighting a costly lawsuit and had never been profitable anyway. “We’re a mission and a cause, not a profit-making business,” he told Politico. “The advantage of the move is that all the generous people who give us their support every year will now be able to give tax-deductible contributions, and that we will be able to do more fundraising, in keeping with our goal to keep growing in the years ahead.’”

This anti-Trump issue of National Review is, in effect, a campaign pamphlet directed against a political candidate—indeed, the cover proclaims “Against Trump”—and, as such, is in clear violation of IRS statutes regulating nonprofit organizations.

The regulations are quite explicit that nonprofit organizations must “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.”

I’m sorry, I have no cogent analysis to offer; I’m not even sure what the article said. I found it hard to pay attention after cracking up when I got to the part about “the intellectual integrity of the conservative movement.”

That’s a good one!