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The Constitutional Case for Section 501(c)(3): A Historical Perspective

The Constitutional Case for Section 501(c)(3): A Historical Perspective

Hudson Institute will host Columbia University’s Philip Hamburger for a discussion of section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Revenue subsections do not ordinarily stir the passions of Americans. But section 501c3 may be an exception with its exemption of religious, educational, and charitable organizations from federal income taxes. At the same time, it denies this exemption if an organization engages in campaign speech, devotes a substantial part of their activities to propaganda, or makes any other attempts to influence legislation. Churches, charities, and non-profit schools must therefore choose between paying a tax and exercising their full freedom of political speech and petitioning.

Professor Hamburger will consider the section from a historical perspective involving extreme ideological and theological anxieties. On the basis of this history, he reconsiders whether the section is in conflict with the Constitution. The discussion will be moderated by Hudson Senior Fellow Harold Furchtgott-Roth.


Philip Hamburger

Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, Columbia University; and President, New Civil Liberties Alliance

Harold Furchtgott-Roth

Director, Center for the Economics of the Internet

Hudson Experts

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