Judge Birtukan has Won the Vote and She Deserves the Invitation – By Belete Demissie

November 1st, 2010 Print Print Email Email

I read Ato Tibebe Samuel Ferenj’s article titled In the Defense of ESFNA. I disagree with his conclusion supporting the decision of Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America (ESFNA) about Judge Birtukan Mideksa’s invitation as a Guest of Honor. It appears that Ato Tibebe has misunderstood the Internal Revenue Code about section 501 (c) (3) organizations on which his decision is based.

The ESFNA leaders also have stated that they will lose their tax exempt or nonprofit status, if they invite Judge Birtukan. There is no such regulation and they are mistaken. I suspect that there is a misunderstanding of the Internal Revenue Code about nonprofit organizations that was quoted in Ato Tibebe’s article as follows:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501 (c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
In plain language, what the above law is saying is: First, tax exempt or nonprofit organizations are not allowed to participate in political campaign. Second, nonprofit organizations are not allowed to make financial or material contribution to political campaign funds. Third, officials of nonprofit organizations are not allowed to make public statements on behalf of the organization about political candidates.
In conclusion, what is prohibited by the Internal Revenue Code is intervention in political campaigns by nonprofit organizations. Given that Judge Birtukan will not campaign for any political position, and will not request for political fund raising or endorsement the above mentioned code has no impact on the tax exempt status of ESFNA. Therefore, since Judge Birtukan has also won the first round of vote she deserves the invitation. I hope that the ESFNA’s Board of Directors will reconsider reinstating the first round of vote and invite her as their Guest of Honor.

Belete Demissie, CPA, MBA
Telephone (951) 849 – 5418
bdemissie@gmail.com

  1. Anonymous
    | #1

    Belete,I like your article. It should be a lesson to some writers who abused their freedom of speech. You only focus on the subject matter with out calling names or put down other individuals. Hopefully we’ll see more writers like you.

  2. Weygud
    | #2

    Ere min yeshalal abet anchi ETHIOPIA mekerash. Respect the vote.

  3. Mamo Killo
    | #3

    Mr. Belete,

    Thank you very much for exposing ESFNA regarding this issue because ESFNA in collaboration with Ato Tibebe Samuel Ferenj’s has been trying fooling us by telling us about their concern of losing their tax exempt status, if they would invite Judge Birtukan.

    We are not Mamo Killo because we know their real concern is losing Mohammed Al Alamoudi favor than losing their tax exempt status.

  4. Borsamo Harqa
    | #4

    The weyanne ethno-fascists have kijacked and taken over ESFNA. Ethiopians should liberate this organization and make it a forum where the abuses and violations of the ethno-fascists are condemned. The weyanne agents in the leadership of EFSNA are the servants of the Saudi Billionaire Skeik and they should be kicked out.

  5. Observer
    | #5

    Shame on ESFNA and its cover up about disinviting Judge Birtukan!!!

    I feel ESFNA has learned vote rigging skills from EPRDF and it rigged our votes as EPRDF has been rigging it for the last 15+ year. I Hope the pressure the concerned writers have been exerted on ESFNA so far would force ESFNA to right its wrong quickly.

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    As all you know the EPRDF cadres has infiltrated almost all organization in Diaspora.ESFNA is one of them.In my opinion the most recent infiltrators are the one who nominated Birtukan as a guest of honor.Though I agree she deserves this honor more than any of us it is obvious that this issue is divisive.That is why the nominator did what they did.This is a subtle but old trick of EPRDF’s MO divide and rule.The sad thing is we all fail in this trap.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Read what Barsam0 above, (#4), wrote and you will see who talks tough, does nothing and in the process helps Woyane and anti Ethiopians destroy ESFNA.
    Just as a reminder: At one time, when the tricolor was condemened by TPLF, there were more Ethiopian flags proudly displayed at any single ESFNA event than all the flags flown at the Addis stadium (two) throughout the year. And ask again? Who is keeping up with Ethiopianess? Who is really the guardian of ‘ ኢትዮጵያዊነት’in the Diaspora community?

  8. SheIsEthiopia
    | #8

    @Mamo Killo
    Mamo Killo I hope you know that Ato Tibebe Samuel Ferenj’s is a great writer. But do you think he knows how to read? I asked you this question because I have started wondering what he was thinking when he wrote In the Defense of ESFNA.

  9. Tulu Oda
    | #9

    ESFNA’s blatant lie shall be exposed.

  10. Sentayehu
    | #10

    After reading what the IRS has to say it seems understandable if ESFNA Board members became maybe extra cautious in considering Birtukan’s invitation. I think in the future it is up to the lawyers and accountants in our community to help them navigate these technical areas.

    The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations

    Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

    Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

    On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

    The Internal Revenue Service provides resources to exempt organizations and the public to help them understand the prohibition. As part of its examination program, the IRS also monitors whether organizations are complying with the prohibition.

    Page Last Reviewed or Updated: June 16, 2010

  11. Yinegal
    | #11

    At this condition, are we most of us just saying it or for sure the “Weyanes” are realy in Birtukan’s invitation case. I sometimes don’t think so. Why and for what reason for GOD sake? Please some may laugh loud on us. Instead, if it is about bringing her here, let’s organize something else and call her. I think one has to say enough some where.

  12. Anonymous
    | #12

    As all you know the EPRDF cadres has infiltrated almost all organization in the Diaspora.ESFNA is one of them.In my opinion the most recent infiltrators are the one who nominated Birtukan as a guest of honor.Though I agree she deserves this honor more than any of us, it is obvious that this issue is divisive.That is why the nominators did what they did.This is a subtle but old trick of EPRDF’s MO, divide and rule.The sad thing is we all fail in this trap.

  13. Anonymous
    | #13

    I disagree with his conclusion supporting the decision of Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America (ESFNA) about Judge Birtukan Mideksa’s invitation as a Guest of Honoer. whatever, what the ESFNA decision is, from my perspective we should support Birtken invitation. respect Birtken, she have gaven her life for the Ethiopians people. overall, i have disagree with the ESFNA decision.

  14. melat
    | #14

    Rosa Abadir wrote an exclusinve and very articulate things regarding the ESFNA inproper decission and violation of thier own laws in favor of Alamudi, i think that should be spreaded everywhere in order to challenge ESFNA some mafia groups.

    http://www.abugidainfo.com/?p=16362

  15. Lema
    | #15

    An Attorney, a CPA, and many others have been exposing the tax code excuse of ESFNA for not inviting Birtukan. Therefore, ESFNA must respect the vote!!!!

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