Monday, September 20, 2010

The "League" vs. Minnesota Voters Alliance

The Minnesota Voters Alliance, a small election integrity oriented group, announces they have filed a complaint with the IRS against the League of Women Voters. The complaint and all the information they used to compile it is posted on their website at The complaint alleges "the League" has used a confusing array of branding to ultimately gain favor with donors and create sufficient confusion that donors may be writing off donations that are, in-fact, not tax deductible.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance makes a compelling case against the venerable group known to most only as "The League of Women Voters". A little digging reveals a complex and confusing group with many affiliates, local "chapters" and a seemingly endless trail of confusing branding, IRS filings and blurred borders between their education "fund", a 501 (c) (3) and their lobbying arm, a 501(c)(4).

What is even more interesting is how the group shares and co-mingles funds, offices, membership, leadership, staff, branding and makes little if any effort to distinguish between the two separate entities both at the local and National levels.

By all appearances, this David (the Minnesota Voters Alliance) has their Goliath ("the League") on the ropes and getting ready to put them down for the count. It seems the Goliath in this instance has crossed a number of legal borders in their relentless pursuit of left wing goals, never considering they might be challenged at some point. The Minnesota Voters Alliance obviously has some brilliant and tenacious, if not brave, minds working behind the scenes. The League of Women Voters paints a picture of being beyond reproach and the consummate pillar of integrity, when in-fact, they are merely another shill for the Democrat party.

What is interesting is the "League" as they commonly refer to themselves, appear to be vulnerable to the IRS and if the IRS takes action on MVA's complaint, may be vulnerable to loss of their tax exempt status. The IRS takes a dim view of any organization that conducts lobbying under the flag of a tax deductible group. Even if the "League" can demonstrate their use of tax-deductible donations for educational activities, they will be hard pressed to explain what appears to be deliberately confusing in their branding. The only distinction between the tax deductible organization and the non-tax deductible organization is the last two words of the names of the respective organizations. The Tax deductible funds go to "The league of Women Voters Education Fund" and the non-tax deductible dollars ostensibly go to "The League of Women Voters US". Confused? Well I think nearly anyone trying to distinguish between the two groups would be and therein lies the problem.

The IRS demands there be no confusion when an individual is preparing a tax return between those donations that are tax deductible and those that aren't. A person would have to be intimately familiar with the inner operations and organization of the "League" to understand which group is which and which donations go where. How many of you are forensic accountants? Good luck sorting this one out and kudos to the Minnesota Voters Alliance for taking the time to do it.

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