Democrat-supporting activists have accused the Donald Trump-alignedConservative Partnership Institute of operating as an arm of the Republican Party and is now demanding the Internal Revenue Service revoke its tax-exempt status.
A letter from End Citizens United, sent today and obtained by Raw Story, asks the IRS to immediately begin an investigation, citing what it says are blatant violations of federal rules regulating non-profit charitable organizations’ participation in politics.
A Conservative Partnership Institute official called for curtailing voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters at a Republican National Committee donor retreat, according to a Washington Post story last month.
“Cleta Mitchell, the head of CPI’s anti-voter program, said the quiet part out loud,” End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller said in a statement to Raw Story. “The leaked information that came to light from the Republican National Committee’s private donor retreat revealed that CPI is operating under the guise of a social welfare program, but in reality, it's a front group for the Republican Party.
“They're using the group as a vehicle for big Republican donors to hide their political contributions — and get a tax break for doing so. It’s a flagrant abuse of what the IRS’ tax-exempt status is intended for,” Muller said.
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Representatives for the Conservative Partnership Institute and the Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Conservative Partnership Institute may receive contributions that donors can deduct from their taxes. But such nonprofits are “restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct,” according to IRS guidance.
Specifically, 501(c)(3) “organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” the IRS states.
End Citizens United’s letter accuses the Conservative Partnership Institute of operating as an “action” organization that, according to IRS rules, “participates or intervenes, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
The Conservative Partnership Institute, the letter says, “operates for the private benefit of the Republican Party and the Republican National Committee rather than for a public purpose. Its very mission — to provide staffing support and training only to Republican Members of Congress and political committees — evinces its non-exempt purpose.”
The letter says the Conservative Partnership Institute legal and digital media production services are offered only to Republicans and that its facilities are available for rent only to Republicans.
The letter includes a list of 20 examples of political campaigns, all for Republicans, paying the Conservative Partnership Institute for reasons such as “facility rental,” “meeting expenses,” and “catering/meals.”
“Most troublingly, its programs solicit tax-exempt funds to promote the Republican Party's electoral Mission,” the letter says.
The Conservative Partnership Institute describes itself as “a home base and a networking hub for conservatives here in Washington” that helps associates “build the relationships and gain the education and training necessary to thrive in an environment that too often strips you of your resolve.”
End Citizens United describes itself as a Democrat-supporting organization that wants to "fix our democracy by getting big money out of politics and protecting the right to vote." It also says it will fight a "rigged political system by electing reform champions, passing meaningful legislative reforms, and elevating these issues in the national conversation."