CfA Files IRS and FEC Complaints Against White Coat Waste Project, Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2022
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog group, filed a complaint with the IRS and FEC requesting the agencies investigate White Coat Waste Project, Inc. (“WCW Project”) and White Coat Waste PAC (“WCW PAC”) for flagrant violations of the strict prohibition on 501(c)(3) organizations engaging in political campaign activities, and for soliciting contributions for a PAC from outside the PAC’s restricted class. It appears that WCW Project founder Anthony Bellotti and its spokesman, Justin Goodman, established, financed, maintained, and controlled the WCW PAC as a separate segregated fund of the WCW Project and utilized it to engage in political campaign activities to further the 501(c)(3) organization’s lobbying activities in violation of both the IRS Code of 1986 and the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.
Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “The IRS should investigate these violations and, if substantiated, revoke the tax-exempt status of the White Coat Waste Project and impose all appropriate taxes and penalties. The FEC should also conduct a full investigation of all entities involved and impose substantial civil penalties for these prolonged and substantial violations of the FECA and FEC regulations.”
Bellotti, a veteran GOP operative, founded the WCW Project in 2013, positioning the group as an animal rights organization as a tool to criticize government-funded research. He then established WCW PAC in 2017 to lobby for specific legislation that would advance WCW Project’s positions. According to its 2019 and 2020 Form 990s, its Lobbying Disclosure Act reports and its own press releases, one of the WCW Project’s legislative priorities in those two years was the Animals Freedom from Testing, Experiments, and Research (AFTER) Act of 2019. The AFTER Act was introduced on May 22, 2019 by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and was cosponsored by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA).
During the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, the WCW PAC made contributions to those seven and only those seven House candidates. Meaning, the WCW PAC gave contributions exclusively to members of the House of Representatives who sponsored or cosponsored legislation that was the highest legislative priority of the WCW Project.
Additionally, the WCW Project, the WCW PAC and Bellotti, individually, violated FECA and FEC regulations prohibiting a corporation from soliciting contributions for its separate segregated fund from outside a restricted class, which in this case is its members and executive or administrative personnel and their families. For nearly five years, the WCW PAC has used the website established, maintained, and controlled by Bellotti to solicit contributions from the general public.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “White Coat Waste Project and its officers and employees have shown a blatant disregard for the rules governing charitable organizations’ ability to engage in political campaign activities, and their violations should not go unpunished. By failing to act, the IRS and FEC would give the green light to anyone seeking to flout these laws in the future and set a terrible precedent for any agency tasked with enforcing our nation’s laws.”
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.