Feb 2017Local EventsPolitics

Presentation of For More Perfect Union in Elmira, New York

By Staff Writer

 

10/14/16 – Elmira, New York.  – About 20 people in attendance, Faizan Haq presented For More Perfect Union (FMPU) to an audience preparing a chapter of the organization in Elmira, New York.  Haq spoke for 30 minutes about the political climate in 2016 and the need for an organization like For More Perfect Union.

Haq plans to develop For More Perfect Union (FMPU) into a national organization that endorses and supports candidates, as well as providing information on the background of those seeking and holding elected office.  For More Perfect Union (FMPU) plans to raise money and donate to candidates they support and endorse.

The goals of For More Perfect Union (FMPU) is to protect the freedoms granted in the Constitution, uphold the foundations of the United States and a nation of immigrants, support the separation of faith and state, maintain America’s safety through global relationships, and fight for equity and equality in economic opportunity for all.

The 2016 election season was one of the more contentious and divisive elections of our time.  Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was based on the call to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump has also called for a stop to all Muslim immigration into the USA. His views on trade and foreign policy are additional evidence that Trump is running a campaign intended on closing off the United States from the rest of the world. Trump’s campaign runs against all the foundational principles of For More Perfect Union (FMPU).

Members of the audience asked questions and shared commentary following the presentation. Haq and audience members talked about how influential 501c4 organizations can be in our current political environment. Political candidates and the parties they represent depend on these donations to fund campaigns that are becoming more and more expensive every year following the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

The Citizens United ruling allowed for corporations and labor unions to register as 501c4 organizations and form Political Action Committees (PACs).  The PACs can, in turn, spend unlimited sums of money on candidates they support and opposed.  Non-profit organizations like fire departments, civic groups, and other “social welfare” organizations are examples of 501c organizations.

Under the IRS tax code, 501c4 organizations specifically are social welfare groups that are allowed to become involved in politics.  However, the IRS code says these groups can’t have political activity as a primary function. So long as they spend less than fifty percent of their money on political activity, 501c4 groups are acting within the law.

Donations made to 501c4 organizations are not deductible, though some businesses who make these contributions often write them off as advertising or business expenses. They can also donate money or time to political campaigns that “further policy goals” of the non-profit organizations.

For Haq, it’s crucial that the Muslim community become united as social stakeholders on an interfaith basis as opposed to intercultural basis.  He asked the audience to join him in being fellow visionaries and activate their capacity to be change agents. All throughout Haq’s discussion, he urged the audience to be informed and become more involved in the political process. He believes that operating and fully engaging those inside of the political system to bring about necessary change.

Faizan Haq has founded a number of organizations, among them WNY Muslim. Many of the organizations he has founded and been a leader in have become very successful. In Haq’s view, the Muslim communities can’t exist on the outside of the political and civic loop. Muslims need to think long term and historical. He says it’s important for all Muslims to focus on tactics and not just strategy. Haq sees a need for an organization beyond 2016 that is proactive as opposed to reactive.

The 2016 presidential election is on track to break the spending records set in 2012. The 2012 presidential race cost the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney 2.6 Billion dollars. The IRS experienced a huge increase in new applications for 501c4 organization following the 2010 court decision, and this contributed to the increase in political spending.

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