The Tea Party applications now claim they are are Social Welfare Organization. Now isn't this a revelation? No wonder some astute IRS employees set their applications aside asking for more information.
No, its not a revelation. To be a 501c4 you either have to be a social welfare organization or a "Local associations of employees". Obviously, trying to better the community (Social Welfare) makes more sense, whether you agree with them or not.
According to the regulations to qualify under 501(c)(4), your group must be “primarily engaged” in promoting social welfare, while the Code says “operated exclusively” to promote social welfare. The regulation goes on to state:
The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.