Photo Credit: screen capture
The website of the parent entity of the anti-Bibi US-style political campaign in Israel, V15.

So why didn’t the fact that the American tax-exempt OneVoice used its funds to create the V15 political campaign effort gain traction, given that its admitted goal is to get rid of Netanyahu?

That should be at least one facet of the current bipartisan congressional investigation which was revealed by a leaked story to Fox News over the weekend.

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And it should be the one the committee leads off with, because it is a no-brainer. The law is clear. Tax-exempt organizations cannot fund political campaigns. Here is the language:

all 501(c)(3)s are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign supporting or opposing any candidate for elective public office.

This means ANY amount of political activity is grounds for loss of tax-exempt status.

The prohibition applies to all campaigns: federal, state and local, and extends beyond candidate endorsements. Actions that clearly violate the prohibition include contributions to political campaign funds, and making verbal or written public statements by or on behalf of an organization that favors or opposes any candidate for public office.

Distributing statements prepared by others that favor or oppose any candidate for public office will also violate the prohibition.That means that V15 can’t declare innocence just because it’s against Netanyahu, rather than really being “for” Herzog, Livni or anyone else.

Finally, allowing a candidate to use an organization’s assets or facilities will also violate the prohibition if other candidates are not given an equivalent opportunity.

WHAT ABOUT US LAW APPLYING TO FOREIGN CAMPAIGNS?

Does the fact that the political campaign takes place outside of the U.S. mean this rule does not apply? The answer to that question is also clear: the restriction against lobbying and the prohibition against political activity on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for elective public office (electioneering) applies with full force in a foreign context as well.

ABOUT THOSE STATE DEPARTMENT GRANTS…

But now let’s go back to the U.S. State Department grants to OneVoice, which the State Department spokespeople claimed were kosher because the grants expired prior to the official announcement of this recent Israeli election.

What were those grants for? The State Dept. tried to shrug off any accusations by flatly denying the grants were for elections, why, they were for promoting the “two state solution!”

Here is what everyone missed the first time around: according to IRS rulings, a tax-exempt organization cannot engage in efforts to influence or change laws of the U.S. or that of a foreign country.

Yet that is exactly what the State Dept. grants to OneVoice were for. During a State Dept. press briefing on Jan. 29, 2015,  a journalist asked the State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki for what purpose was the $233,500 grant (its most recent one) to OneVoice. Psaki said the grant lasted from Sept. 23, 2013 until Nov. 30, 2014, and that it was funding “to support efforts to support a two-state solution.”

Really? Apparently the State Department forgot that under current Israeli law there is no such thing as the country of “Palestine.” Israeli law would have to be changed to recognize such an entity, if it ever were to come into existence. Those laws would include nearly everything connected to the current Israeli Civil Administration, as well as many laws dealing with Jerusalem.

So the U.S. government was using U.S. taxpayers’ money to fund an effort to influence, and hoping to formally change, the law in Israel to force a solution it favors!

We know the U.S. uses taxpayer funds to help influence changes in foreign nations with hostile governments, but attempting to change the law through its own interventions, using Americans’ money, to defeat the position of the democratically elected leader of that nation?

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

131 COMMENTS

  1. Lori, I just posted this article in my tax network on Linkedin (which moves over to Twitter under my business account (@WernerRocca). I'm doing my best to help this go viral!

  2. Bibi should've known that Obama's people would get rid of him working from a grass roots level. Only in Israel would this be allowed to happen. The most vicious antisemites don't want Bibi to win because they are afraid resumed negotiations with the Arabs will prevent their wish for the dismantling of the entire Jewish State. Under Herzog Israel will give away more land in exchange for increased Arab terror. I'm afraid that Herzog will also give up E. Jerusalem like it was a piece of salami.

  3. If the Israeli want to give half of Jerusalem to the savage Palestinians, so be it. If they also want to give the Entire land known as Judea and Samaria, that is their problem. When the Arabs decide to exile you out of the State of Israel, please go elsewhere, not to the USA or any free country. Maybe you al should go back to Europe. there you will find another form of anti semitism.

  4. To all Israeli voters-if you don't think Obama will pressure a new PM to either give up more land & even create a Palestinian State, think again. He is evil & has no use for Israel. He will have a strong hand in destroying a thriving Jewish culture just as he has destroyed American patriotism & culture. You know Netanyahu won't cave.

  5. That was an illogical and farcical statement considering that it was neither the intent nor the content of the article. If the best you can do is build a straw doll and poke it with pins, do so, but don't embarrass yourself by giving utterance, Bruce Lindner…

  6. Those PC fools think that embracing Hamas and Islamist supremacism makes them intellectually and morally superior to the defenders of the Nation. Be it Israel or America.

  7. BIBI NETANYAHU. When it absolutely positively has to get there overnight. So… WHY FOOL AROUND WITH ANYONE ELSE?

  8. Being Jew doesn't mean that anyone is friendly to Jews or Israel – it's proved so many times already. Quoting UN resolutions is another proof of who you really are – the enemy of Israel and, therefore, the enemy of Jewish nation. UN is the most anti-semitic organization in the world and you should be ashamed of even bringing their "resolutions" to this discussion. Many American Jews became so stupid in their fight with Israel, it makes us, the ones who still have the understanding of and love for the Jewish state full with rage and disbelief. I know that it's useless to try to make you see the reality, but let me tell you, sir, that I'm ashamed of being in the same group with you and your friends.

  9. It's Obamas anti-"colonialism" attitude that rubs off on his followers, that makes Jews hate Israel, and the left in America to hate traditional American values. He is a sick man, and his followers are too feeble-minded to see it.

  10. Our land is from river to river , and if anyone think otherwise, he could be expandable))) I AM THE MOST SUPREME COMMANDER OF ALL ORDERS, and for all KNIGHTS, M.S.C.B.A. 33º 66º 99º ., AF & AM, NE PLUS ULTRA., · Holon, Israel,

  11. Thanks for this well-written article (no place seems too low for these dirty skunks, like Bird, to go). I believe most Americans, despite what the dishonest Obama liberals want to say, do truly love beautiful, strong, and free Israel!! Also, Bibi did a fabulous job speaking at the US Congress!!!

  12. There are not going to be any arrests or prosecutions over this…as long as the 'divine' Obama[SARCASM intended…I don't think O is divine] and his administration are in office. It is Obama's attorney general who would be in charge of any hypothetical prosecution; so it WON'T happen.

  13. Obama is a traitor.

    1. For releasing 8 Taliban terrorists, 5 in exchange for one deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, without giving congress the 30 day notice he is required to give.

    2. In violation of law for the President or any American to reveal classified military secrets. Obama exposed the identity and method of operation of the Navy SEALs team that conducted the operation killing of Osama bin Laden. 22 SEALs were shot down and killed in Afghanistan.

    3. Operation Fast & Furious which put thousands of American-made semi-automatic weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels and resulted in at least one death, U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry. Investigators suspect that Fast & Furious was an effort by the Obama Administration to discredit lawful gun ownership in America by purposefully creating gun crimes.

    4. The Obama administration lied to cover-up for terrorists in Libya. Who gave the stand down order?

    5. Obama sold 11 billion in weapons and military equipment to Qatar who is known to support terrorists.

    6. Obama funded the terrorist group Hamas.

    7. Obama waves ban on arming terrorists, and arms terrorists.

    8. The Obama administration recruits terrorists.

    9. Obama allows terrorists to immigrate to the United States.

    10. Egypt charged Obama with crimes against humanity for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

  14. I support Naftali Bennett as the next Prime Minister of Israel, but I like Benjamin Netanyahu as well, however I disagreed with Netanyahu about a two state solution creating a Palestinian state. This is really a three state solution since there is already the Arab-Palestinian state of Jordan, and the Jewish-Palestinian state of Israel, we don’t need the terrorist state of Palestine.

    I don't think there is a solution to this conflict, and I don't see anyone killing anyone as a solution. But Naftali Bennett's plan may be the best path for a solution some time in the future.

    Area C of Judea and Samaria has 300,000 Jews and 55,000 Arabs, only 4% of the Palestinian population. Israel was recognized as having full jurisdiction over Area C of Judea and Samaria by the Oslo II Accord. Israel should give citizenship to the Palestinians that live in Area C, and Area C should be recognized as Israel proper. In Area A, such as the Gaza strip, Israel completely withdrew from and has self-governance, and Area B is under joint Israeli and Palestinian governance.

    Allowing the free flow of food and humanitarian supplies to areas A and B, and showing the people in Gaza and Judea and Samaria that their life's will be better if they work with Israel and not Hamas, trust can be built and a final peace agreement can be made in direct negotiations.

  15. It has been the policy of Israel to support two state solution since the first 1937 partition talks with the British. To suggest that by supporting the Two State Solution, the stated aim of Israelis and Jewish leaders for nearly 80 years, this group is somehow attempting to "change their laws" is ludicrous. The US government spends millions every year giving money to both sides in support of a two state solution. This organization is simply supporting the long-standing policies of Israel, the US and the UN: A two state solution.
    By this logic, any charity that supports a Middle East Peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be illegal.

  16. 1. Hardly an act of treason
    2. The President has the power to declassify anything he/she wants to at any time.
    3. Fast and Furious was part of "Operation Gunrunner" which was started in 2006 by the Bush Administration. Why impeach Barry over Bush's mistake?
    4. the Republican controlled House Committees have all, unanimously, said that there was no stand down order.
    5. Qatar is an important ally of the US
    6 Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Gaza Strip. They shouldn't be, but the Bush administration pushed the Israelis into having the election in the first place. And we officially support the two state solution and the Palestinian Authority, part of which, due to the USA's stupidity, is Hamas.
    7. He had to waive the ban to fund Syrian rebels, which was supported in a greatly bipartisan fashion.
    8 and 9. What ARE you talking about?
    10. Who the Hell cares??

  17. Dee Gravink I care. This president doesnt represent me in any way. I am completely against EVERYTHING he stands for. I might find it a little tolerable if he followed the law in his actions, but he doesnt. And lets not forget the lives that have been lost and will be lost in the future because of his support for terrorist entities such as Iran, Hamas, The muslim brotherhood etc.

  18. if G-d wanted a 2 state it would have already happen, they can keep on trying and even if they would win, regardless G-d has something very special waiting for them…guess who is going to have the last laugh…..

  19. It should be called the one state one terrorist state solution…you can pick depending on who you are. Israel is an inclusive government.Women Gays and children are treated Equal..The other not.

  20. Seems like the UN and sometimes the US are for the three state solution. So Netanyahu is right about his two state solution. Everybody knows that there will not be a second filistin state. For the simple reason is that there is no need for that. 1937 is not an important date (the Peel ) the arabs did not agree with it. As they have never agreed with any plan UN or US. The only plan they would agree is the elimination of the Jewish Israel.

  21. A 2/3 majority in both chambers of CONGRESS is required for ALL treaties . Obama is making a deal with Iran but it is kept a secret. And if he thinks he can declare any treaty himself alone in secret it is not valid and is technically impeachable. There is no such thing as a treaty issued under exec order.

  22. I can't believe the fear and ignorance I'm reading on this site. Any opinions contrary to the right-wing perspective are characterized as "weak," "anti-Semitic," or as "Israel haters." Breaking news hevre, the left—both here AND in Israel—want a strong, secure Israel too, but we want to see it backed by a stabile peace process within the region, something other than the neo-fascist fear tactics and irrational tribal bluster displayed herein. Try thinking for yourselves for once, rather than parroting some warmongering propagandist to frame your position for you.

  23. Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, the IRS attacked conservative groups for no reason, now there is a real tax-exempt group butting into elections and you don't want them examined. Let's have light on all wrong doing by political groups.

  24. Dee Gravink I got to #3 and stopped reading your blather. Research much? Operation Gunner was NOTHING like Fast and Furious…OG was a tracking operation. F&F did NOT track. BIG DIFFERENCE! Holder put a lot of guns in the hands of criminals to what end? Your statement is a flat out lie.

  25. According to US laws – the illegal use of government funds is a felony punishable by jail and fines up to three times the amount of money that was defrauded for the person and/or persons responsible for the fraud.

  26. I have know for a long time that both Israel and the US have waco libtard socialist trolls that follow any anti-American anti-Israel demagogue like B.Hussein and his acolytes. That you are one Christine Cooper Temple.

  27. Bruce, you realize that making a deal with Iran opens the door for any country in the region to nuclearize. And since when did any country in the region ever live by the deal they signed? You dont make deals with terrorists. This is completely a Valerie Jarret deal for her home country.

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