The Washington Post has a bit of news the Grand Dragon of Moral Righteousness Eric Miller is going to find a bit unsettling. The IRS is taking a closer look at the activities of so-called non-profit groups like your Advance America organization and they don't like what they are seeing.
The Post writes, "IRS exams found nearly three out of four churches, charities and other civic groups suspected of having violated restraints on political activity in the 2004 election actually did so, the agency said Friday. Most of the examinations that have concluded found only a single, isolated incidence of prohibited campaign activity. In three cases, however, the IRS uncovered violations egregious enough to recommend revoking the groups' tax-exempt status.
So what exactly were these non-profits and churches doing to step over the line. Here's a list of some of unlawful things they did:
- Charities and churches had distributed printed material supporting a preferred candidate and assembled improper voter guides or candidate ratings. Doesn't Advance America do something like that. Yes, "Advance America publishes Voting Records of the 150 elected state legislators after each General Assembly and distributes over 850,000 Voter Guides before each general election."
- Religious leaders had used the pulpit to endorse or oppose a particular candidate, and some groups had shown preferential treatment to candidates by letting them speak at functions. Eric Miller and Advance America have been there and done that: "While Miller's Advance America is a tax-exempt, nonpartisan group, the 2004 Republican candidate for governor extolled the virtues of having a GOP majority in the General Assembly this year."
- Other charities and churches had made improper cash contributions to a candidate's political campaign. Wasn't Miller's 2004 campaign for governor just an extension of his Advance America organization?
So what is the IRS doing to these tax cheats? The Post writes:
The IRS examined 110 organizations referred to the tax agency for potentially violations, and 28 cases remain open. Among the 82 closed cases, the IRS found prohibited politicking and sent a written warning to 55 organizations and assessed a penalty tax against one group. Those organizations included 37 churches and 19 other organizations. In the three additional cases in which the IRS recommended revoking tax-exempt status, none of the organizations were churches. The agency did not identify the three.
Well we think the IRS ought to identify who these tax-offenders are since they are subsidized by the general public. And we really want to know if Advance America is one of those organizations still under review. And if not, why? And just where is that 2004 Form 990 you must file with the IRS? We can't wait to take a look at it.
Hat tip to Taking Down Words for the Post story.