Saturday, March 7, 2009
In Technical Advice Memorandum 200908050 (Feb. 20, 2009), the Service concluded that a (c)(3) that shared its website with its affiliated and controlled (c)(4) engaged in campaign intervention because the (c)(4)'s pages (contained on the (c)(3)'s website) endorsed a politcal candidate. The (c)(3) complained that the Service was changing the rules by attributing the (c)(4)'s endorsement to the (c)(3), even though the the (c)(4) paid the allocated costs of the pages on which the politial endorsement appeared. One of the obvious problems the (c)(3) could not overcome was that its logo appeared on all website pages, even those pertaining to and paid for by the (c)(4). The Service rejected the (c)(3)'s assertion that the appearance of its logo on the (c)(4)'s candidate endorsement pages was required by its website operator. This seems a pretty easy case; unfortunately, the TAM is only marginally helpful to the question of campaign intervention via websites or affiliated organizations because, as with all technical advice memos, names are deleted and readers are unable to see the offending website.