September 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A former member of Congress is calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to audit several left-wing activist groups over their charity arms’ association with a progressive organization he claims is “weaponizing” charitable giving for political purposes.
This week, former rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) spoke to Bill Bennett, former education secretary and Fox Nation host, about concerns he detailed earlier this month in a Fox News op-ed about Grassroots Campaigns, a for-profit “progressive” voter canvassing organization that has worked with Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
“Though each of these charities has a separate social welfare arm (a 501[c]) to engage in politics, it is the charitable arm that employs the progressive canvassing group Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. for purposes of fundraising,” Chaffetz writes. “Here’s where it gets fishy: The charities that hire this company for fundraising services never come close to breaking even on the deal.”
Taking Planned Parenthood as an example and citing the the 990 tax filings of its 501(c)(3) charitable side (explored in greater detail in his recent book Power Grab), Chaffetz writes that since 2009, the abortion giant “has paid out more than $11.5 million to the canvassing organization above and beyond the amounts they have received for fund-raising,” raising the question of why it continues the business arrangement.
Chaffetz speculates that these organizations may be using Grassroots Campaigns to circumvent campaign finance laws, by shifting activity that political campaigns can no longer engage in to nonprofits.
“[Representatives of these for-profit voter identification companies operate] under the guise, wearing a Planned Parenthood shirt, saying ‘Hey, would you donate $50?’ … If they donate to Planned Parenthood then they know that this person may vote for Democrats, but if they say ‘No, I hate Planned Parenthood’ they're identified as a Republican voter,” Chaffetz explained to Bennett.
“Someone coined the phrase, ‘I will give you the government, federal government, state government, and local government. You give me the media, the foundations, and the schools and I’ll run the country,’” Bennett said.
Chaffetz questioned whether the IRS noticed the potential problem, quipping that “they were too busy looking for nonprofits with the word ‘Tea Party’ in the name.” He called on the agency under the Trump administration to audit Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the SPLC.
For years, pro-lifers have also called on the federal government to investigate Planned Parenthood over its sale of organs from aborted babies. The Justice Department requested documents pertaining to the case from the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of 2017, but no action has been announced since.