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Marcus Owens Quoted in The New York Times, Partisanship Disguised as Charity

July 11, 2012, The New York Times
Excerpt taken from the opinion.

There is little dispute that statehouses across the nation are greatly in the sway of a conservative, pro-business advocacy organization called ALEC, for the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC has been the driving force behind state laws that have effectively marginalized minority voters, crimped union rights and undermined environmental protections. It has also promoted the dangerous Stand Your Ground statutes favored by the gun lobby.

For all its right-wing political muscle, ALEC has long enjoyed tax-exempt status as a nonpartisan charity under section 501(c )(3) of the tax code, which is supposed to bar it from influencing legislation as a substantial part of its activities. And because it is a charity, its donors are allowed to deduct contributions from income taxes.

This outrageous situation has to be reversed. Marcus Owens, the former chief of the I.R.S. division in charge of tax exemptions, has recently filed a complaint with the I.R.S. charging ALEC with illegal lobbying and partisan violations that should lead to revocation of its tax exemption. We agree. "ALEC has deliberately and repeatedly failed to comply with some of the most fundamental federal tax requirements applicable to public charities," Mr. Owens said in the complaint.

Click here to read the opinion calling for an investigation of ALEC and its activities.

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