Over at PhilanthropyDaily.com, I have a new post playing off our latest Foundation Watch by Walter Olson. He raised the question, Should “public interest law firms” — groups like the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, the Native American Rights Fund, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Environmental Defense Fund — actually receive tax exemptions as if they’re charities, when they only exist to commit the non-charitable act of suing people?
All those groups were started by the left-wing Ford Foundation in the 1960s, and even Ford’s own staff knew it would be hard to get the IRS to approve “public charity” status for these groups.
I discuss (1) why Ford ended up winning that battle and (2) why today’s Tea Party and other conservative groups did not.
The essay is here.