Everyone in politics is well aware that certain so-called nonprofit organizations often engage in partisan politics, which is expressly prohibited by their tax-exempt status. Once in awhile, the mainstream media publicizes a case, but more often than not, the entire issue is swept under the carpet. Here’s what you can do about it
My friend, Alan Bergstein, who also writes for this website, sent out an email the other day that caught my eye. In the email, Bergstein says:
Friends,For your information and use, below, is a copy of the form to be used when reporting an abuse of an organization’s 501(c)3 status. When a tax free organization (house of worship, charity organization) invites only one party’s representative to speak, that’s a violation of IRS 501(c)3 rules and may be enough to have that group’s tax free status removed. Please keep this copy and distribute it to others to have on hand when such a situation arises. It pays to be prepared.
Bergstein is right. Something needs to be done, and the most effective response to taxpayer-subsidized nonprofits abusing their nonpartisan requirements is to start filing official complaints. Since it’s usually a member of the offending nonprofit who’s aware of the violation, there’s a lot of peer pressure against a complaint filing. The good works of the organization are cited, friends and neighbors are involved, and the overall good of the community the nonprofit serves are all used to pressure members to keep quiet about violations.
But it’s time to put local nonprofits on notice — misuse of the tax-exempt status of a charity or house of worship will result in multiple complaints to the Internal Revenue Service.
Below is the form to file when you witness a violation. Download it and print out several copies now, because like Bergstein says, “It pays to be prepared.”
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