IRS: Agency Urged to Investigate American Tradition Partnership and Its Suspect Application for 501(c)(4) Status


The Campaign Legal Center today joined Democracy 21 in urging the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether American Tradition Partnership (formerly Western Tradition Partnership) submitted false information to the agency in order to obtain its 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. Copies of the organization’s application materials published by ProPublica and Frontline indicate that the group made numerous false claims while seeking expedited review of its application for exempt status.

In its original application, then Western Tradition Partnership told the IRS that it would not participate or intervene in elections which it subsequently did. Further the group sought and received expedited review and approval of its application for501(c)(4) status by claiming that an individual had pledged $300,000 to the group only if it were granted exempt status by a certain date. In interviews after the IRS documents were published, the supposed donor (Jacob Jabs) reportedly told the media that he never pledged funds to the group and had never even spoken to representatives of the organization until after being identified in stories as the individual who had pledged funds, when he called the group to complain.

“The IRS needs to investigate the matter thoroughly and if it can verify the media reports, the agency must revoke the group’s exempt status and the Department of Justice should prosecute the violations to the full extent of the law,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Legal Center Executive Director. “If these allegations prove true and American Tradition Partnership is not prosecuted, then there would be little to prevent other one-cycle political committees from posing as social welfare organizations in order to launder money for wealthy secret interests seeking to sway our elections.”

To read the full letter sent today to the IRS, click here.