Gears of Biz: Watchdog group files complaint with IRS against Roy Moore-connected foundation
A nonpartisan election law watchdog group filed a complaint Thursday with the IRS against a Roy Moore-connected foundation, calling on the agency to investigate what it called the charity’s apparent violations of its tax-exempt status.
The D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center urged the IRS to determine whether to revoke the Foundation for Moral Law’s tax-exempt status or levy penalties against the charity after claiming it used its social media pages and newsletters to promote Moore’s candidacy. The foundation’s president is Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore.
Charities with tax-exempt status are barred from engaging in political activity. AL.com reported last month that the foundation shared and posted to Facebook endorsements Moore received and articles favorable to his candidacy. Some of those posts were later scrubbed from the foundation’s Facebook page, but the Campaign Legal Center sent screenshots of the social media activity in its complaint to the IRS.
“The Foundation for Moral Law has demonstrated a pattern of using charitable resources to promote Roy Moore’s run for Senate,” said Adav Noti, senior director, trial litigation and strategy at Campaign Legal Center, in a statement. “The law is clear that charities cannot promote or oppose candidates, and it is surprising that a self-described legal organization would disregard the well-established prohibition on charitable political activity.”
Both Noti and Fischer concurred with experts who spoke to AL.com last month saying the foundation may be violating its tax-exempt status.
“Charitable organizations are subsidized by taxpayers for their charitable, religious and educational work, not for partisan political activity,” said Fischer said. “Charities play an important role in civil society and their individual members have complete freedom to engage in partisan politics. It is illegal for the organizations themselves to use tax-exempt charitable resources to intervene in political elections, and it is the job of the IRS to ensure it stays that way.”
The foundation “appears to have violated its tax-exempt status by repeatedly and expressly advocating the election of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is the former president of [the Foundation for Moral Law], and whose wife is its current president,” they wrote in the IRS complaint.