Seasongood v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 12385.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtSIMONS, , and McALLISTER and MILLER, Circuit
Citation227 F.2d 907
PartiesMurray SEASONGOOD and Agnes Seasongood, Petitioners, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.
Decision Date14 December 1955
Docket NumberNo. 12385.

227 F.2d 907 (1955)

Murray SEASONGOOD and Agnes Seasongood, Petitioners,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

No. 12385.

United States Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.

December 14, 1955.


227 F.2d 908

Murray Seasongood and James D. Long, Cincinnati, Ohio, for petitioners.

Karl Schmeidler, Washington, D. C., H. Brian Holland, Ellis N. Slack, Lee A. Jackson, Washington, D. C., on brief, for respondent.

Before SIMONS, Chief Judge, and McALLISTER and MILLER, Circuit Judges.

SIMONS, Chief Judge.

The petitioners are husband and wife and the present review involves the disallowance by the Commissioner of deductions taken in their individual income tax return for 1946 and 1947 and in their joint income tax returns for 1948 and 1949. The deductions taken by the taxpayers were for contributions made in the tax years to the Hamilton County Good Government League, which the petitioners contend were allowable under the provisions of §§ 23(o) (2) and 101(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1939, 26 U.S.C., 1952 ed.

At the hearing before the Tax Court, Seasongood was the only witness. No effort was made to impeach his oral testimony, though exhibits showing the League's financing and explaining its activities were made available. The Tax Court made detailed findings of fact and in its opinion, 22 T.C. 671, undertook to apply what, in its view, was the applicable law.

It said of Seasongood that he had been a lawyer, in active practice, for more than fifty years, had for many years a deep interest in matters relating to good government, with special reference to the government of his community, had taken an active part in civic matters pertaining to the health and general welfare of the people of Cincinnati and the efficient administration of the law in his county and state. He had been for two terms Mayor of Cincinnati, had a national reputation as an expert in municipal corporation law, was the author of a case book upon the subject widely used in law schools, and had lectured in many states on this subject and the subject of clean and efficient local government. He had served as a lecturer at the Harvard Law School, as a Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati Law School and

227 F.2d 909
as trustee, or in some other official capacity, in many organizations national in character and had engaged in charitable, educational and public welfare activity

Of the League, it said that it was organized in 1934 and incorporated in 1941 as a corporation not for profit. Seasongood was its president from 1934 to 1945. The Articles and Constitution of the League specify its object to be "to provide an opportunity for discussion of matters of civic importance and to advance good government." The activities of the League during the tax years had been nonpartisan in the sense that it had not contributed to or affiliated itself with any political party. Its main activities were in operating the "Cincinnati Forum of the Air," to permit public discussion by individual citizens of matters affecting the citizen's welfare, the preparation and distribution, through schools and other organizations, of literature explaining the danger to the public health by the spread of disease by rodents and the best methods for their control, and the education of citizens of the community to the importance of exercising their right to vote, irrespective of party or candidates. It had been the practice of the League in each year to prepare and mail to its members and to distribute to the voting public through employers and others notices of the times of approaching elections, calling attention to the necessity of registration and the dates for registration. It urged all voters to register and exercise the right to vote as something due to themselves and to their community. The income of the League was small, being derived from dues and occasional contributions. Its statement of income and disbursements for the taxable year 1948 is typical of its financial activities during the years in question. In that year, it received dues and contributions in the total amount of $2,112.00 and its expenditures were $2,534.90.

Our consideration is directed to the question, whether the activities of the League characterized the contributions made to it by the taxpayers as contributions to a corporation operated exclusively for charitable or educational purposes. The Tax Court reasoned as follows: "The provisions of the applicable Sections 23(o) (2) and 101(6) recognized the fact that organizations formed for purely educational or charitable purposes may, in the course of their existence, as an instance of their activities, be forced to take part in some political activity. Only when such activities constitute a substantial part of their general activity is the relief provision of this section withheld. If, however, a substantial part of the organization's activities is political in character, as contrasted with activities purely religious, educational or charitable, it does not suffice to show that such activities were carried on with the highest motives and admittedly in the public interest. Efforts to convince the voters that certain candidates are best fitted for a public office or that certain legislation is for the public good are activities of a political nature. They do not qualify under the statute as educational."

The Tax Court conceded that the...

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29 practice notes
  • Part III
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 29, 2005
    • August 29, 2005
    ...in 1968 were for political activities, political activities were a substantial part of association's operations); Seasongood v. Comm'r, 227 F.2d 907, 912 (6th Cir. 1955) (where less than 5 percent of time and effort of organization was devoted to political activities these activities were n......
  • Standards of conduct: Labor organization officer and employee reports,
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 29, 2005
    • August 29, 2005
    ...in 1968 were for political activities, political activities were a substantial part of association's operations); Seasongood v. Comm'r, 227 F.2d 907, 912 (6th Cir. 1955) (where less than 5 percent of time and effort of organization was devoted to political activities these activities were n......
  • Keene v. Meese, No. Civ.S-83-287 RAR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • October 29, 1985
    ...for NBC News, author of two books, and dozens of newspaper and magazine articles on American English. See also Seasongood v. C.I.R., 227 F.2d 907, 910-11 (6th Cir.1955). One example of the latter is provided by Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (2d. college ed. 1970), ......
  • Sofco Erectors, Inc. v. Trs. of Ohio Operating Eng'rs Pension Fund, 20-3639
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 28, 2021
    ...of the market is "quite insubstantial." We too have suggested that insubstantial means "something less than 5%." Seasongood v. C.I.R., 227 F.2d 907, 912 (6th Cir. 1955) (examining 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)'s restriction on tax-exempt organizations from using a "substantial part of activities . ......
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27 cases
  • Keene v. Meese, No. Civ.S-83-287 RAR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • October 29, 1985
    ...for NBC News, author of two books, and dozens of newspaper and magazine articles on American English. See also Seasongood v. C.I.R., 227 F.2d 907, 910-11 (6th Cir.1955). One example of the latter is provided by Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (2d. college ed. 1970), ......
  • Sofco Erectors, Inc. v. Trs. of Ohio Operating Eng'rs Pension Fund, 20-3639
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • September 28, 2021
    ...of the market is "quite insubstantial." We too have suggested that insubstantial means "something less than 5%." Seasongood v. C.I.R., 227 F.2d 907, 912 (6th Cir. 1955) (examining 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)'s restriction on tax-exempt organizations from using a "substantial part of activities . ......
  • Leary v. United States, No. 15290.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 30, 1959
    ...88; Stewart v. Kahn, 1870, 11 Wall 493, 505, 78 U.S. 493, 505, 20 L.Ed. 176; Seasongood v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 6 Cir., 1955, 227 F.2d 907; Adler v. Northern Hotel Co., 7 Cir., 1949, 175 F.2d 619; United States v. Public Utilities Comm., 1945, 80 U.S. App.D.C. 227, 151 F.2d 609......
  • Taxation with Representation of Washington v. Regan, No. 79-1464
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 26, 1982
    ...this case is of doubtful authority in view of Speiser v. Randall, which was decided four years later. Compare Seasongood v. Commissioner, 227 F.2d 907, 911 (6th Cir. 1955) (construing "propaganda" to reach only coloring or distortion of facts with an ulterior motive, and holding that a Good......
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