Philip Hackney on Democracy and Social Welfare Organizations
In this episode, Philip Hackney, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, discusses his draft article "Dark Democracy? Section 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations and Tax Exemption." Hackney begins by describing the difference between outcome-based and process-based theories of political legitimacy. He argues that we should care about process, and explains how nonprofit organizations can affect the democratic process. He identifies the differences between 501(c)(3) charitable organization and 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, and explains how 501(c)(4)s are used for political purposes. He argues that their tax-exempt status is an undemocratic subsidy that should be eliminated, and reflects on the wisdom of exemption in general. Hackney is on Twitter at @EOTaxProf.