BOSTON, Aug. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Threatening referral to the Internal Revenue Service, the Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Policy Education Center Incorporated (Solifico) today called upon the Commission on Presidential Debates to invite all eligible candidates to debate.
Unlike prior challenges under election or anti-trust laws, Solifico questions whether the Commission's selection criteria are consistent with its status as a tax-exempt charity. Solifico demands that the Commission strike or change its 15% polling criterion.
If rebuffed, Solifico will seek IRS enforcement and judicial relief. Consequences could include candidates' mandated inclusion, the debates' cancellation, and the Commission's tax exemption being revoked.
The Commission uses three criteria, designed to be "pre-established" and "objective," as the Federal Election Commission requires – Constitutional eligibility for office, mathematical chance for Electoral College majority, and indication of popular support based on five national polls yet to be chosen by unnamed pollsters.
Solifico noted the IRS imposes a more rigorous standard for a tax-exempt charity engaged in political activities, forbidding it from preferring some candidates over others under any criteria. Because "bi-partisan is not the same as non-partisan," the Commission is limited to only those criteria that evidence whether a candidate is eligible for and is capable of election, not whether the candidate is likely to be elected. The Commission's first two criteria pass muster, while its third does not.
Solifico explained that FEC standards allow the Commission to act like a high school varsity coach who can pick one player over another based on who was more likely to win, while IRS rules require the Commission to act like a teacher supervising school-yard pick-up games, when fair play allows everyone to be let onto the field.
Solifico also pointed to a recent debate reform report from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center, which noted more Americans than ever identify as independents and ever fewer Americans watch the debates, especially among the young and fast-growing communities of color.
Solifico is a social welfare organization headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, which – along with Solifico PAC – was founded by R.J. Lyman, a colleague and friend of former Massachusetts Governor and current Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee Bill Weld.
Paid for by Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Policy Education Center Incorporated and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
SOCIALLY LIBERAL FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE POLICY EDUCATION CENTER INCORPORATED