New Complaint Reveals Likely Illegal Partnership Between Georgia GOP & Fraudulent Nonprofit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 28, 2020
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against True the Vote, Inc. (TTV) for engaging in political activity in violation of its status as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization.
After watching the success of true nonpartisan efforts to register voters in Georgia, regardless of party affiliation, TTV decided to co-opt the language of pro-democracy efforts in the state and set up a voter engagement operation in name only. In reality, TTV has illegally partnered with the Georgia GOP to engage in voter suppression aimed at likely Democratic voters.
“Charities and nonprofits don’t get to partner with political parties to suppress the vote and engage in political dirty tricks,” said Michelle Kuppersmith, Executive Director of the Campaign for Accountability. “With the Senate majority on the line, True the Vote and the Georgia GOP appears to have decided that every rule can be broken in their pursuit of power. Because True the Vote is apparently refusing to operate within the rules, the appropriate remedy would be for the IRS to revoke TTV’s tax exempt status.”
Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint against TTV that shows that:
– True the Vote was established as a tax-exempt nonprofit under Code Section 501(c)(3) in 2013. TTV’s mission, as stated in its 2018 Form 990 is “[t]o equip citizens to take a stand for free and fair elections.”
– On December 14, 2020, TTV issued a press release that detailed TTV’s partisan activity, through extensive collaboration and partnership with the Georgia Republican Party, for the purpose of influencing the outcome of political campaigns and elections.
– TTV goes as far as to name the Georgia GOP chairman: ““We have focused our ‘Eyes On Georgia’ in these critical final days before the runoff, and we are thrilled to partner with the Georgia Republican Party, Chairman Shafer.”
– Beyond this release, TTV has issued numerous public communications suggesting that it partners directly with the Republican party, and opposes the Democratic party, to engage in activities that constitute participation in, or intervention in political campaigns.
According to tax filings, TTV’s mission initially is to “[t]o equip citizens to take a stand for free and fair elections.” Yet last week, TTV issued a press release and letter detailing the group’s extensive collaboration and partnership with the Georgia Republican Party and its opposition to the Democratic party to influence the upcoming January 5 run-off U.S. Senate election in Georgia. In a December 20, 2020 press release TTV stated:
– “True the Vote today announced its partnership with the Georgia Republican Party to assist with the Senate runoff election process”
– “We have focused our ‘Eyes On Georgia’ in these critical final days before the runoff, and we are thrilled to partner with the Georgia Republican Party, Chairman Shafer. . .”
In a December 21, letter to Georgia County Election Boards detailing TTV’s partisan efforts to specifically oppose the Democratic party and liberals TTV stated:
“In light of the threats from Mr. [Marc] Elias and the ACLU Georgia, we understand that True the Vote is willing to provide representation to any county election board that suffers any sort of legal action for complying with the requirements of Georgia law regarding these challenges or that True the Vote is willing to file an amicus brief on their behalf—showing why any challenge by Democrat lawyers or their liberal allies has no legal merit, that the NVRA does not bar county election boards from complying with Georgia law, and that reliance on the NCOA is a legally sufficient basis for taking action.”
The Internal Revenue Code provides that 501(c)(3) organizations cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” The IRS and courts have held that an organization is engaged in political campaign activity when it makes statements suggesting that it partners exclusively with a single political party. Similarly, purportedly “educational” material about voting violates the political campaign activity proscription in Code Section 501(c)(3) when it favors or opposes a political party. The IRS has the authority to revoke a group’s charitable status if the organization no longer qualifies as exempt.
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.