The Corner

Report from the Grassy Knoll: Reaction to the ‘Against Trump’ Editorial

From the stew of enraged Trumpkins, trolls, nativist misfits, and conspiracy theorists has come the cry for vengeance and this concocted charge: that National Review is violating the law by publishing the editorial. The explanation: National Review is a not-for-profit, and by making a candidate negative-endorsement, it violates IRS regulations explicitly prohibiting not-for-profit entities from doing such.

Gotcha! Call 9-1-1!

The trouble with this crackpottery is that National Review Inc. is not a not-for-profit. Expressed less negatively: National Review Inc. is a for-profit company. Admittedly, one that never makes a profit. It publishes content (such as “Against Trump” editorials) in a magazine and on a website, for which it seeks and earns subscription and advertising revenues. It also engages in ancillary revenue-generating activities (events, cruises, book publishing, the sale of shirts, posters, mugs, and other things). What cash does come in (including contributions) pays for National Review’s brilliant commentary, reporting, and, yes, negative endorsements.

On August 1, 2015, National Review Inc. acquired a new owner. It is the National Review Institute. Now, that is a not-for-profit. Indeed, the Institute is a 501(c)3 educational charity. Like National Review Inc., the Institute was also founded by William F. Buckley Jr. Its mission is to engage in policy development, public education, and advocacy that advance the principles he championed and complement the mission of National Review magazine.

Two separate and different legal entities, with two separate sources of revenue, two separate boards of directors, their efforts reviewed and approved by separate legal counsels, their finances and operations annually and independently audited by separate accounting firms. All of such publicly and openly described in various places and by various means, all of such as transparent as . . . Mr. Trump’s narcissism.

We don’t expect the facts to get in the way of alt-right farces. In the meanwhile, we believe our friends, readers, supporters, and subscribers, who may stumble into the Twitter or Facebook fever swamps and confront this lunacy, deserve to know the truth: that National Review, Inc. is a media entity, legally entitled under the First Amendment, the laws of the State of New York, and the Internal Revenue Code to engage in political commentary as William F. Buckley would have us do, in the pages of the magazine he founded. And we have every intention of continuing to do just that.


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