DFO: What's the difference between a 501c3 organization and a 501c4?
Wayne Hoffman: A 501c4 is a social welfare organization. Contributions made to a 501c4 are not tax deductible. The 501c4, however, because contributions are not deductible, can say more, it can do more. So, for example, IFF cannot endorse candidates but Idaho Freedom Action can.
DFO: Why did you feel there was a need to create a 501c4 (recognized by IRS this winter)?
Wayne Hoffman: There are a lot of advantages to having a 501c4. For starters, it allows us to communicate beyond our membership. When we send out our Freedom Index, it largely goes to our media list. But we don't distribute that beyond our donors, membership and media. With a 501c4, we are able to share information with a larger group of people.
DFO: Why is it incorrect to say that Idaho Freedom Foundation endorsed candidates when Idaho Freedom Action was created to allow IFF to get around 501c3 limitations re: endorsements?
Hoffman: Idaho Freedom Action has an entirely different board than Idaho Freedom Foundation. Our management structure is different. For the moment, the boards of Idaho Freedom Action and Idaho Freedom Foundation have agreed to work together and use existing resources. But that could change in the future. The two boards agreed to sign a shared services agreement. When I do work on behalf of IFA -- or anyone else in the office does work on behalf of IFA -- IFF charges for those services. We will tell IFF how many hours we worked on behalf of IFA.
DFO: Do you know of other groups have a 501c3 and a 501c4?
Hoffman: One of the more notable ones is Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action.
DFO: IFF has been catching flak re: the Freedom Index used to make the Idaho Freedom Action endorsements. How can you justify awarding an A+ to a controversial freshman legislator like Heather Scott and an F-1 to almost half the conservative Idaho Legislature, including powerful JFAC co-chairman Shawn Keough?
Hoffman: I didn't give anyone that score. They gave themselves that score. A lot of organizations will score legislative after the fact. We don't do that. We always post our review of legislation before a vote. We want legislators and the public to be aware of our rationale rather than come back later on and surprise people with our analysis and judgment on a handful of bills.