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Is a Link an Endorsement?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 16 2006

That's the question raised in a new way by The Raw Story, which reports today that the Republican National Committee's website appears to be violating the non-profit status of several major organizations by listing them as "GOP Groups."

They are the American Enterprise Institute, American Values, Coalition for Urban Renewal, Frontiers of Freedom, the Heritage Foundation and the Leadership Institute.

Raw Story's John Byrne writes, "If defined as a 'GOP group,' these organizations would not qualify for tax-exempt status under their charters." The RNC didn't comment on his story.

I doubt this is actually a violation of those groups' tax-exempt status (if every time a partisan outfit linked to a tax-exempt group caused that group to lose its tax-exempt status, there would be none of the latter), but it is a reminder that plenty of people play fast-and-loose with these definitions. And hardly anyone doubts that places like AEI, Heritage and the Leadership Institute aren't Republican breeding grounds.