Campaign for Accountability Asks IRS to Investigate Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) for Impermissible Political Activity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2024

Contact: Michael Clauw,, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a non-profit watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting an immediate investigation into whether the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) indirectly engages in impermissible political campaign activity through its for-profit subsidiary, Compass Legal Group (CLG). Research from Accountable.Us suggests that CLG—which provides services to former President Donald Trump’s political campaign, as well as other Republican candidates—does not provide its services on a neutral basis to all public officials regardless of partisan political affiliation. Since CLG is controlled by CPI, a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit, this may constitute impermissible political activity. Additionally, CfA is asking the agency to investigate whether CPI may be operating for private benefit of executives, who appear to be receiving excessive compensation, and whether the group has performed undisclosed lobbying.

CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “It’s ironic that an entity marketing compliance services appears to be violating the law. If the IRS confirms CPI has been engaging in impermissible campaign activities, its tax-exempt status should be revoked.”

Read CfA’s Complaint.

CLG describes itself as a law firm that provides legal guidance to public officials, nonprofit organizations, and political candidates in the areas of campaign finance, government ethics, and nonprofit tax and governance. Since October 2021, CLG has collected nearly $700,000 from federal campaigns and political committees, including over $250,000 from former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign. Substantially, all of these political campaigns and committees were Republican and/or partisan entities affiliated with Republicans. If an IRS investigation confirms CLG provides services exclusively to Republicans, as a company controlled by a 501(c)(3) —CPI—CLG would be engaged in impermissible political activity.

For years, CPI’s mission statements have focused on the “conservative movement” and advancing “conservative policy”—which CfA believes to be a thinly-veiled euphemism for “Republicans.” In more recent filings, CPI has emphasized that it provides a platform to connect “Members of Congress” and “congressional staff.” CfA suspects all (or substantially all) of those members of Congress and staff may be Republican legislators and their office personnel. If confirmed, this would mean CPI is not operating for public benefit, but for the private benefit of Republican elected officials and their staff.

Additionally, CPI appears to have violated the prohibition on private inurement by paying excessive compensation to certain officers and key executives. Over the course of just a few years, the annual compensation for several of CPI’s officers and executives increased by more than 75%. If CPI is operating for the private benefit of a few, it may have its tax-exempt status revoked and may be subject to financial penalties.

Lastly, CPI may have engaged in undisclosed lobbying and/or political campaign activities. Despite claiming on its Form 990s it has never engaged in lobbying activity, CPI’s 2022 Annual Report describes, in detail, how it provided training and support to “Freedom Caucuses” in multiple states, which claimed to have successfully defeated specific pieces of state legislation. It also recently launched another public charity—the Center for Renewing America, Inc.—whose self-described activities includes pushing “anti-CRT legislation not just at the federal level but in 22 states,” and “calling for states to pass legislation to protect their citizens.”

Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “CPI appears to be a Republican consulting firm masquerading as a non-profit, allowing the organization and its donors to receive tax benefits intended for charities. The IRS should promptly investigate, take enforcement action, and refer the matter to the Department of Justice for further inquiry.”

Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.