Landmark's 501c Project Letter to the IRS


February 2, 2001

Mr. Wayne Hampel
Acting Area Manager (Mid-Atlantic)
Internal Revenue Service
31 Hopkins Plaza, Room 1450
Baltimore, MD 21201

Re: Lobbying Against The Appointment Of John Ashcroft For Attorney General

Dear Mr. Hampel:

Landmark Legal Foundation (Landmark) asks that the Internal Revenue Service ensures that the recent lobbying activities of scores of 501-C tax-exempt organizations are complied with and properly reported on their prospective tax filings.

On January 9, 2001, a coalition of over two hundred (200) organizations met at the headquarters of the American Association of University Women, a tax-exempt group, where they launched an unprecedented lobbying campaign to defeat the nomination of John Ashcroft for attorney general. (Exhibit 1) Among the attendees were several Democratic congressional staffers, apparently including members of Senator Barbara Boxer's staff.

Among the two hundred (200) organizations were at least eighteen (18) tax-exempt groups that received large sums of federal funds -- $150 million from 1996 through 1999. (Exhibit 2) Moreover, Landmark learned the identity of another thirty-four (34) tax-exempt organizations that apparently participated in lobbying activities resulting from this meeting. (Exhibit 3)

In addition, on January 13, 2001, Senator John Kerry attended a meeting in Boston organized by Massachusetts NARAL in which dozens of groups lobbied him against the Ashcroft nomination.

On February 1, 2001, Landmark asked tax expert Edward Coleman to provide it with a concise analysis of the legal and tax implications imposed on 501-C tax-exempt organizations that engaged in lobbying against John Ashcroft’s appointment. (Exhibit 4) Mr. Coleman concluded that, in fact, such lobbying activities trigger reporting requirements and may result in tax liability. As you know, Mr. Coleman spent twenty-seven (27) years working in the exempt organizations function at the IRS, including as director of that division from 1986 to 1990.

Inasmuch as several of these organizations have announced their intention to conduct similar lobbying efforts against future appointments, the IRS must ensure that these tax-exempt groups comply with federal law.

Thank you for your intention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Mark R. Levin
President

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