What’s the Difference?

Share

My pal Bill Kraus at Common Cause in Wisconsin decided to take a poke at OWN yesterday on the FightingBob.com blog for our efforts advancing progressive values, ideas and policies to ensure a Wisconsin with equal economic opportunity for all.
 
Bill has a long and admirable career of doing what he thinks is best to make Wisconsin an even better state. In this instance, he uses FightingBob.com, a 501(c)(3), tax exempt organization, to advocate for policy change, writing, “There is a proposal to bring some transparency to the participation of all of these incipient campaign hijackers which most lawyers think will get past the Supreme Court.”

Here’s what appears on our website at OWN to let people know about our sources of financing, which is at the heart of what Bill says he would like to see in all of these 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organization.
 
“One Wisconsin Now receives its support from foundations, labor unions, individuals and other tax exempt organizations. One Wisconsin Now, Inc. (OWN) operates exclusively for the benefit of Wisconsin citizens and is a non-partisan and independent advocacy organization that has been recognized by the IRS as a § 501(c)(4) organization. Donations to One Wisconsin Now are not deductible for federal income tax purposes and will not be used to support or oppose any candidates.”
https://secure.onewisconsinnowaction.org/page/contribute/donate
 
I went to Common Cause in Wisconsin’s website, where Bill serves as a Co-Chair. Unable to find a similar listing of funding sources, I went to Common Cause’s national, Washington, DC website and found the following:
 
“How We Are funded — Common Cause is financed, in large part, by the dues and contributions of its individual members. Because it is a 501 (c)(4) lobbying organization, such contributions to Common Cause are not tax deductible. The Common Cause Education Fund, our 501(c)(3) affiliate, conducts research, education, and outreach activities and is supported by foundation grants and tax-deductible contributions from individuals and institutions. The combined annual operating budget of Common Cause and the Common Cause Education Fund is approximately $10 million.” http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=189961

We all have a lot of good work to do in the progressive community and so I’m not going to waste his valuable time suggesting that Bill should clarify how OWN has fallen short of the Kraus/Common Cause standard given the nearly identical “how we are funded” descriptions.
 
(Although, I can tell ya, we ain’t in the solar system of having $10 million like Common Cause, wow!)

# # #

Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.