I guess I'll have to focus on the Olympics and the Elections till November. Kind of annoying. I'll try to broaden that, but there's just so much to talk about.
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, outlines the rules of formation and restrictions on activities by organizations to whom the Federal government allows both tax exemption and tax deductions for their individual donors. There are a lot of restrictions, far more than for other tax exempt organizations. One of the big restrictions is on political activity -- i.e. anything that looks partisan or even gets overly entangled with the political arena. Even policy advocacy, for specific pieces of legislation, is strictly regulated for (c)(3) organizations. This is pretty well understood, but especially in big election years, sometimes, people get a bit sloppy.
There are Executive Directors of community-based organizations who get a little too close to one candidate or another, and don't make it very clear that they are there solely on an individual capacity (which is allowed). A number of APA organization leaders are going to both the upcoming DNC and RNC national conventions. It seems to me that people really wanted to see Obama speak, and are willing to make the trek out to the RNC, where they'll nurse a few drinks, shake a few hands, and feel like they've done what they need to cover their bases.
I don't really accept that. I also think it's not cool for groups to do briefings to just 2 presidential campaigns, just because they are the ones that the media are so focused on. There are at least 5 active presidential campaigns going on, and at least 4 of them are with parties (I can't remember if Nader is with an independent "party" or just on his own). I really wonder if someone wanted to wreak havoc with some of these groups, whether they could raise a fuss with the I.R.S. Maybe the argument could be that if they show preference to 2 parties over all the others, it's still partisan. It's not good enough to just speak with Republicrats.
Again, I'm not hating of the nonprofits, but if they only recognize candidates from the monied parties, they are perpetuating the 2-party bullshit that keeps us in this mess.