By Eric Wang
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra hit a low note recently during a press conference marking his first 100 days in office. Out of the blue, Becerra lashed out at nonprofit groups for “doing politics.” He threatened to investigate “these groups that are getting tax breaks [while] influencing our political system,” and claimed their donors were illegally taking charitable tax deductions. In his tirade, Becerra misstated the law. As California’s top law enforcement official, he should know better. Then again, his remarks continue his predecessor’s war against nonprofits’ First Amendment rights.
If Becerra’s claim that nonprofits are illegally participating in politics were true, that would mean he was the ringleader and beneficiary of a criminal enterprise during his 20 years in Congress. After all, his congressional campaign committee – which existed for the sole purpose of promoting his election and reelection – was a nonprofit organization under the tax code. If Attorney General Becerra wants to crack down on nonprofit groups engaging in politics, he should begin by prosecuting himself. Fortunately for Becerra, he’s wrong about the law.