Donate today and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the American Public Media Board.
The IRS’s embarrassment creates free advertising for conservative groups
Share Now on:
The revelation that groups applying for tax-exempt status with words like “patriot,” “tea party” and “9/12” in their names were singled out for extra scrutiny has been an embarrassment for the IRS. But for the targeted groups themselves, it’s been free advertising.
The conservative Kentucky 9/12 Project applied for so-called 501(c)4 status back in December 2010. It took more than two years and thousands of pages sent to the IRS, but last month, the group won. And donations poured in.
“We had people coming in that were waiting on the sidelines saying, ‘Okay, where do I send my check now?’” says executive director Eric Wilson, who oversees the group’s modest $16,000 annual budget.
Wilson wouldn’t disclose fundraising details, but he says an even bigger tide of money and support rolled in after the IRS admitted it scrutinized groups like his.
“The reaction’s been amazing,” Wilson says.
For groups still waiting for IRS approval, the effect is more mixed. The Albuquerque Tea Party applied for 501(c)4 status in December 2009, but still hasn’t gotten final approval. Rick Harbaugh, president of the state group, says that instead of fielding new donations, he has been fielding calls from past donors who fear that the IRS will go after them next.
“Our donors are very nervous about getting their name before the IRS if we are getting targeted by the IRS,” he says.
One of the prime advantages of organizing as a 501(c)4, after all, is keeping those donors secret.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.
Don’t miss this special