You probably didn’t know that you have been funding the work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That would include their efforts in helping to enact a gaggle of reactionary state laws — ‘Stand your ground,’ voter suppression, bashing immigrant workers etc.
No not directly. But your taxes have indirectly subsidized ALEC’s work because the organization has enjoyed status as a tax-exempt public charity. They haven’t paid taxes, so taxpayers have made up the difference. Here’s how Mike Baker explains it in his HuffPo post “ALEC Hit With IRS Complaint Filed By Common Cause“:
Advocacy group Common Cause said Monday it had filed an IRS complaint accusing ALEC of masquerading as a public charity. ALEC is formed as a nonprofit that brings together lawmakers and private sector organizations to develop legislation and policy.
ALEC says its work is not lobbying.
Common Cause disagrees. “It tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, in a statement. “ALEC is not entitled to abuse its charitable tax status to lobby for private corporate interests, and stick the bill to the American taxpayer.”
Common Cause is demanding an audit, penalties and payment of back taxes. Baker adds, further, that “ALEC has been active since the 1970s and has long drawn the ire of open government groups who question the secretive development of legislation and close relationship between private sector officials and lawmakers who meet at conferences to jointly develop model legislation.”
All of which gives ALEC’s corporate supporters who have been departing for less thorny pastures at a quickening rate an additional reason to put their cred on the line elsewhere.