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Permits, Audits and Comeuppance

At American Thinker, I write about a First Amendment issue involving rally permits.  The piece was prompted by the City of Richmond’s issuing an audit letter to the Richmond Tea Party.  The Tea Party demanded a refund of money it paid for a daytime rally permit after the Tea Party learned that Occupy Richmond was allowed to encamp for weeks without a permit.

Over at The Nonprofit Quarterly, Rick Cohen has a different take:

“On occasion, we spot incidents where the Tea Party, typically prone to eschewing the niceties of corporate and nonprofit registrations and filings, gets its comeuppance. In Richmond, Virginia, the local Tea Party has been protesting the city’s decision to call for a tax audit on the group via tax-day rallies in Richmond’s Kanawha Plaza.”

“Although the organization has been around for a few years now, the Richmond Tea Party seems to have missed some of the basics of nonprofit organization.”

I like my First Amendment and Fourth Amendment comments over his — actually, his lack of them — and I would hope most nonprofits would agree.

While Mr. Cohen and I assuredly disagree over politics, as I am a Tea Party guy while politically Mr. Cohen might be more in the Occupy camp (I dunno, just guessing), he’s made a big deal of Tea Party groups getting tax exempt status, permits, etc.  He seems a little more tolerant of lax legal standards for the Occupy groups.

I think the same laws and constitutional rights apply equally to everyone.  In fact, the Tea Parties have unquestionably been more attentive to following the laws than the Occupiers.

Ah, but Stalin’s henchman Lavrentiy Beria was known to say, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”

I teach a class on the legal aspects of forming nonprofits and fundraising, and spoke in Richmond to Tea Party groups.  Their number one problem is that they lacked funds.  In fact, most the Tea Party organizers I spoke to did not have funds above any reporting threshold.

Ah, but comeuppance is good, right?

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