Common Cause calls on IRS to stop ALEC’s charity status


Common Cause, the national voter advocacy organization, has taken on the corporate interests of the American Legislative Exchange Council, by presenting evidence to the IRS that ALEC is a political lobbying group, and not an organization where membership is considered a charitable gift.

The organization wrote a letter to the IRS, Tuesday, urging them to take another look at ALEC’s “misclassification as a 501(c)(3) organization, in light of the group’s primary purpose to influence the passage of state legislation and operation for the private benefit of its corporate members.”

In an email blast to its supporters, Tuesday, Common Cause cited statements from some of ALEC’s member corporations as evidence that the organization should have its tax-exempt status revoked, and “demanding” the government “fine them for any violations, and make its corporate backers pay the back taxes they owe.”

“Though ALEC claims that it is now a legislator-driven, bottom-up enterprise,” Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which is partnering with Common Cause in the campaign, said in a statement, “our evidence shows that the corporations underwriting ALEC continue to drive its legislative priorities and do so to benefit their bottom lines.”

In calling for the IRS to take action against ALEC, Common Cause told supporters:

“Today, we and our allies at the Center for Media and Democracy gave the IRS new statements by ALEC corporations admitting that they too see ALEC for what it is: a corporate lobby, not a charity. Among the most telling examples:

“Pfizer: ‘Pfizer chose to continue this relationship [with ALEC] because our Company and its stakeholders have benefited directly from the organization’s model legislation and resolutions.’

“Verizon: ‘Our involvement with ALEC has been focused on legislative issues of direct importance to Verizon.’

“AT&T: Our ‘main focus within ALEC has been on state legislation aimed at achieving and maintaining a favorable business climate. . . [O]ur focus has been limited to those issues that may impact our company.'”

Common Cause has issued a call to action on the issue, urging its supporters to sign a petition to the IRS, and “blow the whistle on ALEC.”


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