Independent Fiduciary Consultant, Economics and Financial Ethics

One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.

10/7/12

Did City of Greensboro executives Michael Speedling, Denise Turner Roth and Andrew Scott realize that TREBIC was illegally lobbying?




From: Marlene Sanford [mailto:msanford@trebic.org]
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 10:28 PM
To: Shah-Khan, Mujeeb; Cannon, Jason; Turner Roth, Denise
Cc: McDowell, Kenney; Drew, Steve; Speedling, Michael; Carruthers, Tom
Subject: RE: Jordan Lake Rules

It looks fine to me except one question on the new compliance date: 
I have been discussing January 1,2014 with Berger's office...

Is there some reason for the August date?

I'm assuming the inclusion of 
”and similar provisions contained in 15A NCAC 02B .0262-0273" is kosher
and would rely on Kenney for that read.

Thanks!
Marlene

"From: McDowell, Kenney
To: Marlene Sanford - TREBIC (E-mail)
Subject: Re: Jordan Lake Rules
Date: Friday, June 22, 2012 10:37:32 PM

Just for you.

Date change was late input."


120-47.9. Punishment for violation.

Whoever willfully violates any provision of this Article 
shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

In addition, no lobbyist 
who is convicted of a violation of the provisions of this Article 
shall in any way act as a lobbyist for a period of two years 
following his conviction.

From: McDowell, Kenney

To: ; Vigue, Mary; Neerman, Sandy
Cc: Drew, Steve; Phlegar, David; Spillman, Virginia; Richardson, Betsey

Subject: Council Agenda Item 18 - Jordan Lake Stormwater Management

Date: Monday, June 18, 2012 1:09:13 PM

...I’m also going to call TREBIC right now 
and make sure no real issues on their end. 

Thanks and let me know if other concerns.

Kenney McDowell, PE, Deputy Director
Water Resources Department
City of Greensboro

Lobbying expenditures.

Lobbying expenditures are expenditures 
(including allocable overhead and administrative costs) 
paid or incurred for the purpose of attempting to influence legislation:

Through communication with any member or employee of a legislative 
or similar body, or with any government official or employee 
who may participate in the formulation of the legislation, 
and By attempting to affect the opinions of the general public."

TREBIC form 990 answer: "no"


"a 501(c)(6) organization that engages in lobbying
may be required to either provide notice to its members
regarding the percentage of dues paid that are applicable to lobbying activities,
or pay a proxy tax.


From: Turlington, Donnie
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 9:27 AM
To: Drew, Steve; McDowell, Kenney
Subject: Jordan Lake Letter

Marlene Sanford offered some comments that I incorporated into the attached. 

Can you please give this one more once-over 
to be sure we’ve captured all of the suggested changes? 

Thanks!

Donnie Turlington, APR, Communications Manager
Public Affairs Department 
City of Greensboro


Examples of 501(c)(6) organizations
include the National Association of Truck Stop Operators,
Home Builders Associations, and local chambers of commerce."

http://www.boardsource.org/Knowledge.asp?ID=3.174


Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 11:12 PM
To: Rep. John Blust (john.blust@ncleg.net)
Cc: Shah-Khan, Mujeeb; Turner Roth, Denise; Marlene Sanford - TREBIC (E-mail)
Jim Blaine; Sen. Phil Berger; McDowell, Kenney; Perkins, Robbie; Pat Danahy
Subject: Jordan Lake Rules Amendment
Importance: High

As you are aware, the Greensboro Partnership and TREBIC 
join the City in this request 
and greatly appreciate your and Sen. Berger's efforts on our behalf.

Please feel free to contact me or City Manager Denise Turner-Roth 
with any questions. 

I, Mayor Robbie Perkins, Marlene Sanford, (and potentially others) 
plan to attend the Rules Committee meeting on Monday evening 
and we are happy to provide any support necessary in this matter.

Gratefully,

Jason Cannon
Vice-President, Governmental Affairs
The Greensboro Partnership


"IRC 501(c)(4), IRC 501(c)(5), and IRC 501(c)(6) organizations
are required to disclose information regarding their political campaign activities
on Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax."

"The federal lobbying tax law
...denies a business tax deduction for all lobbying and political activity expenses
incurred by businesses.

The law also requires that membership dues paid to 501(c)(6)
trade or professional associations be treated as nondeductible business expenses 
to the extent of the association’s lobbying and political activity.


From: "Cannon, Jason" 
Date: June 27, 2012 8:35:03 AM EDT
To: "Jeff Warren (President Pro Tem's Office)" "Marlene Sanford - TREBIC (Email)"
Cc: "Turner Roth, Denise" 
Subject: RE: jordan lake rule extension

Jeff,

I just spoke with Denise. 

She is having the denied resolution pulled now and should be sending it ASAP.

...we certainly appreciate all of your continued efforts 
to assist us on this matter.

Jason
Jason A. Cannon
Vice President, Governmental Affairs
The Greensboro Partnership


Therefore, 501(c)(6) associations that lobby
must track their lobbying and political activity expenditures
and then report to their members each year
the percentage of their membership dues that are nondeductible
as a result of these expenditures
(or, alternatively, the association can elect to pay a “proxy tax”
directly on these amounts to the IRS).

...membership dues are not deductible based on amount of lobbying"

http://www.venable.com/myths-about-lobbying-political-activity-and-tax-exempt-status-06-02-2010/

If there has never a proxy tax paid 
in all the years TREBIC has filed tax returns, 
should many of the donors have to redo all their tax returns?

http://www.trebic.org/members.html

"a section 501(c)(6) organization that engages in lobbying
may be required either to notify its members
about the percentage of dues that are used for lobbying activities
or to pay a proxy tax."

"...If it does not give notification, it must pay a proxy tax at the highest rate
imposed by IRC 11 (currently 35 percent) on its lobbying and political
campaign expenditures (up to the amount of dues and other similar
payments received by the organization) during the taxable year."

"...If a substantial part of the activities of the IRC 501(c) organization
consists of political campaign activities or lobbying,
a deduction under IRC 162 is allowed
only for the portion of dues or other payments to the organization
that the taxpayer can clearly establish
was not for political campaign or lobbying activities. Reg. 1.162-20(c)(3)."

Trebic appears to have used taxpayer dollars 
to increase the profitability of their members. 

Their members recieved tax breaks 
to hire someone to not do what is in the best interest of some taxpayers. 

They used taxpayer money by not paying taxes on lobbying $.

"Direct lobbying of local councils or similar governing bodies
with respect to legislation of direct interest to the organization or its members
and in-house direct lobbying expenses
if the total of such expenditures is $2,000 or less
(excluding allocable overhead expenses)
should be excluded from the amount disclosed.


From: Turlington, Donnie
To: Drew, Steve; McDowell, Kenney
Subject: Jordan Lake Letter
Date: Friday, June 22, 2012 9:27:28 AM

Attachments: Delegation_JordanLake.docx

Marlene Sanford offered some comments 
that I incorporated into the attached. 

Can you please give this one more once-over 
to be sure we’ve captured all of the suggested changes? 

Thanks!

Donnie Turlington, APR, Communications Manager
Public Affairs Department
City of Greensboro


"Nondeductible lobbying and political expenditures
...include expenditures paid or incurred in connection with 
(1) influencing legislation;


From: Turlington, Donnie
To: McDowell, Kenney; "Steve"
Cc: McCollough, Mary
Subject: Jordan Lake, One More Time
Date: Friday, June 22, 2012 11:48:41 AM

Attachments: Delegation_JordanLake.docx

Marlene made one more change, highlighted in attached 
and Denise wants to be sure you agree before we send to delegation. 

Thanks again!

Donnie Turlington, APR, Communications Manager
Public Affairs Department 336-373-3769
City of Greensboro

(2) participation in, or intervention in, any political campaign

on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office;
(3) any attempt to influence the general public with respect to elections,
legislative matters or referendums; or
(4) any direct communication with a covered executive branch official 
in an attempt to influence the official actions or positions of that official.

"influencing legislation" involves the following activities: 
(A) Any attempt to influence any legislation through a lobbying 
communication; and 
(B) All activities, such as research, preparation, planning and coordination, 
including deciding whether to make a lobbying communication, engaged 
in for a purpose of making or supporting a lobbying communication.


"From: Marlene Sanford - TREBIC (E-mail)
To: McDowell, Kenney; Carruthers, Tom; Shah-Khan, Mujeeb; Williams, Mike
Subject: FW: Jordan Lake New Development Rule, state action needed
Date: Friday, June 22, 2012 3:00:17 PM
Importance: High

Tom and Kenney,
I’m thinking this is the core of the language we’d need on Monday.

Tom, I’m relying on you to know what else we’d have to add to it, if anything,
to have it in the appropriate format.

I can be reached at ... to discuss this issue 
and will be in Raleigh Monday evening for the House Rules Committee. 

Thank you so much for your help.

...Marlene Sanford
President
TREBIC
Triad Real Estate & Building Industry Coalition
115 S. Westgate Drive 1830 Eastchester Drive
Greensboro, NC 27407 High Point, NC 27265"

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