Thursday 17 August 2023

House Republicans Looking Into Use Of Non-Profits To Improperly Influence Elections

 Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are looking into the reported use of tax-exempt groups to potentially influence elections and funnel foreign money into U.S. elections.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) explained their concerns with certain activities by tax-exempt groups during elections in an open letter seeking input on current IRS and congressional regulations. 

“The Committee has learned that a Super Political Action Committee (PAC) recommended donations to 501(c)(3) organizations as ‘the single most effective tactic for ensuring Democratic victories’ and that large donations from a wealthy donor to state election offices in 2020 may have been done in a manner that helps one political party over another,” the letter from Smith and Schweikert says. “Additionally, the Committee has also found that significant amounts of foreign money is flowing through 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations to influence elections.”

The letter says that while 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in certain types of political activities, there are certain interventions that are banned, such as get out the vote and voter registration efforts that are done in a partisan manner. 

“Are there any tax-exempt organizations whose voter education or registration activities you suspect might have had the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates which would constitute prohibited participation or intervention? If yes, please describes [sic] those activities?” the letter asks. 

The Republicans also ask whether there should be any new congressional legislation to amend the official IRS definition of “political campaign intervention” in light of “new forms of political advocacy.” 

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) said that there was work to be done to check tax-exempt organizations and counter Democrat election operations. 

“We’re going to look into whether they’re abusing the IRS rules in order to get all kinds of money, whether it’s foreign money or Sam Bankman-Fried‘s mother funneling money in there to target certain types of voters in certain demographics in swing states to make sure that they get those vote votes in,” she told Just the News. 

“We also have to get people to understand they need to vote and they need to, we need to get those ballots in the box. Because when a Democrat goes to the door, they get a ballot when we go to the door, we say we sure hope you vote for our candidates. And here’s our great persuasive argument,” she added.

Amended to the letter included a discussion of several groups that Republicans say should be under greater scrutiny, including the Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR). Following the 2020 election, critics argued that the massive amount of election funding by these groups unfairly benefited Democrat-dominated counties. 

Both groups were backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who gave about $419 million to the groups to give to counties for the 2020 election. In Georgia in 2020, the CTLC gave $30 million to counties during the presidential election and another $14 million during the Senate runoff. This money became known as “Zuckerbucks,” because the tech billionaire had poured so much money into the races. 

According to an analysis by the Government Accountability Foundation, the spending overwhelmingly favored counties that President Joe Biden won. In blue counties, $7.13 was spent per registered voter, while only $1.91 was spent per registered voter in red counties, according to the report. 

The letter also referenced the donations of Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, who has given hundreds of millions to Left-leaning non-profit organizations. 

“We are concerned about the possibility that foreign nationals are influencing our elections by indirectly donating millions of dollars to organizations that spend on behalf of or against candidates for public office without concern about disclosure requirements that would shed light on how exactly their funds are being used,” the letter says.

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