This Is a Charity?

It's time the republican think tank center of the American experiment lost its tax-exempt status

Already there are ominous sounds. Pawlenty himself has said he would like to have Minnesota emulate Wisconsin's harsh welfare reform as an avenue to help rescue the hemorrhaging state budget, and his new finance commissioner has said the Republicans want to privatize a share of the state's workforce, something directly prescribed by the Policy Blueprint.

None of this means that the IRS will suddenly wake up and crack down on CAE. For many reasons, that is highly unlikely. I'm asking why the richest people and corporations among us are allowed to write off the costs of their politicking.

Republican critics sometimes retort that, in their view, there are other, left-leaning tax-exempt charities that are just as partisan as the Center. To this I say: Prove it.

Prove that the financiers of a tax-exempt charity are the same as those of a major state political party. Prove that the primary actors in that same political party are the primary actors in the tax-exempt charity. Prove that the same institution regularly plays host to the luminaries, national and state, of the same political party. Prove that the tax-exempt charity has written documents that are virtual mirrors of those of the state political party, and that they were designed as prescriptions for running state government. Prove that the tax-exempt charity has been used repeatedly as a springboard to elective office.

The truth is that there are no other tax-exempt charities as partisan and dedicated to partisanship as the Center of the American Experiment. The freeloading Center should admit the charade now and pay for its own politicking, instead of forcing the rest of us to pick up its share of the tab.

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