Conservative Liberty University is potentially running afoul of the tax code by claiming to be a nonprofit organization while having a main goal of electing political candidates, according to a MSNBC columnist.
In a recording obtained by Politico, Liberty University President Jerry Prevo told Scott Lamb, who was then the university's senior vice president for communications and public engagement, that he wanted the university to be more effective at political activity.
"Are they getting people elected? Which is one of our main goals," Prevo said. "Are they really motivating our conservative people to really get out to vote? If they are, we ought to be seeing some changes in elected officials — and we are to some extent. All I want to do is to make us more effective."
Prevo was discussing the university's internal think tank, the Standing for Freedom Center, which describes itself as an organization dedicated "to uphold[ing] the Christian faith and defend[ing] America's Constitution."
Prevo's remark could have major implications for the school, MSNBC's Steve Benen reports.
"Under federal tax law, Liberty is a 501c3 institution — which is the same tax-exempt designation given to houses of worship and non-political charitable organizations. As far as the IRS is concerned, the evangelical university is entitled to its tax-exempt status because it's a school, focused primarily on education and spiritual matters," Benen explained. "The revelations in the Politico report are important because they call Liberty's purpose into question. If the school exists to influence election outcomes, then it's not entitled to a tax exemption."
Read the full report.
Why the 'malicious destructiveness' of a second Trump presidency would be much worse than the first: conservative
It remains to be seen whether or not former President Donald Trump will seek the GOP nomination in 2024's presidential election. If he does run, it's hard to imagine him not winning the Republican primary. Never Trump conservative David Frum, in an article published by The Atlantic on October 28, predicts that Trump will run — and warns that Trump's 2024 campaign, fueled by grievance and rage, could be even more toxic than his 2016 and 2020 campaigns.
"Trump has to be considered the massive frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination," Frum argues. "He's already running hard, and he's already dominating the field. Fox News' intense promotion of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as an alternative to Trump is not working out any better in 2024 than its similar effort on behalf of then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2016."
Frum continues, "Trump dominates in the polls. He has the lead in fundraising. Down-ballot races turn on loyalty to Trump. Potential rivals vow they will not run for president if Trump does."
It gives Frum no pleasure to say that Trump maintains such a stranglehold on the Republican Party almost a year after losing the 2020 election. The conservative journalist, a scathing Trump critic who was glad to see now-President Joe Biden defeat him, believes that Trump has been terrible for the GOP and terrible for conservatism. But Frum also believes that the bitter, ugly sense of grievance that Trump thrives on will continue to fire up his MAGA base.
"Trump is campaigning on two themes: nostalgia for the strong pre-pandemic economy, plus resentment over the outcome of the vote in 2020," Frum explains. "It's not much, but it's enough — enough to force DeSantis, the would-be Trump replacement, into desperate stunts to prove himself Trumpier than Trump: handing out $5000 rewards to cops who refuse vaccination, identifying himself with a state surgeon general who advises anti-vaxxers to trust their 'intuitions.'"
Frum points out that Trump's MAGA voters "don't much care about the content of his politics — they care about its mood." And he predicts that the "mood" of his 2024 campaign will be ugly.
"Anybody who follows politics even casually can see the Trump comeback emerging," Frum observes. "Well-sourced reporters carefully detail the comeback's mechanics. But almost nobody is prepared for the malicious destructiveness of what is to come."
Frum goes on to say that as bad as Trump's four years in the White House were, a second term starting in January 2025 would be much worse.
"In Trump's first term," Frum explains, "the country was protected to some degree by his ignorance and ineptitude. He kept trying to do bad things, but it took him a while to figure out how the controls operated, where the kill-switches were located…. In a second Trump presidency, however, the burglars will arrive already knowing how to bypass the alarms and disable the locks."
Frum continues, "He'll understand that it's not enough to install an ally as attorney general — he must control the secondary and tertiary ranks of the Justice Department too. He won't allow himself to be talked into another chief of staff with an independent sense of duty, such as John Kelly, who averted much harm from the middle of 2017 to the beginning of 2019. It'll be Mark Meadows types from Day One to Day Last, and he'll bring with them a new generation of Republican officeholders whose top priority will be rearranging their states' election laws so that Republicans do not lose power even if they lose the vote. That's the future Trump is preparing. Be ready."
On Thursday, Axios reported that Google is going on the offensive against antitrust legislation being considered in Congress — warning clients that the proposals pose a threat to small businesses.
Antitrust laws, which have been gathering bipartisan support in Congress, target the size and power of large companies like Google, rather than small businesses. However, Google argues, many small businesses rely on its services, and would suffer if the litigation affects them.
"Google said the dangers could include ... making it harder for customers to find businesses because listings, including address and business hours, may no longer appear in Google Search results or on Google Maps [and] hurting the effectiveness of digital marketing if Google Ads products were broken up and disconnected from Google Analytics," reported Margaret Harding McGill.
"[W]e're concerned that Congress' controversial package of bills could have unintended consequences, especially for small businesses who have relied on digital tools to adapt, recover and reach new customers throughout the pandemic," said a Google spokesperson to Axios.
This comes as global technology companies come under a fresh wave of new scrutiny, not just over their market dominance but over their algorithms and business practices. Multiple whistleblowers at Facebook have come forward with allegations against that company, claiming that they have deliberately prioritized profits over containing misinformation and hate speech, which executives deny.
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