Congressional codification of section 527 in 1975 largely reflected the IRS’s treatment of political organizations at the time, including that contribution income was not taxable income, and did not provide a significant tax subsidy. In 2000, Congress amended section 527 to impose reporting obligations and, simultaneously, made section 527 voluntary, thus reviving pre–1975 law. The lack of a significant subsidy undermines the effectiveness of imposing burdens on section 527 organizations where there is a choice of tax treatment. The lack of a significant subsidy also raises the constitutional bar to imposing any burdens on section 527 organizations.
Roger Colinvaux, Regulation of Political Organizations and the Red Herring of Tax-Exempt Status, 59 NAT’L. TAX J. 531 (2006).