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Why Is Unity08 Not Filing IRS Forms Electronically?

Unity08 is a corporation that claims it will nominate its own candidates for president and vice president through the first ever online nominating process — one in which delegates will vote without ever being publicly identified. Unity08 has filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent itself from being classified as a PAC — which would require disclosure of the amount and source of loans to it, and which would require contributions to be limited in amount. Unity08′s lawsuit openly declares its intention to avoid public disclosure of its financial business, and to collect large, unlimited donations from a small number of well-connected people.

Since Unity08 is so ambitious, since it is being so secretive, and since it aims to take large donations from a small amount of people, it is important to keep track of the nature and accuracy of its financial accounting. Nobody in the papers is covering this aspect of the Unity08 organization, despite more than one member of the press being contacted regarding Unity08′s problems with its financial disclosure.

To continue along the line that some reporter somewhere should have picked up by now, let’s consider the IRS reporting that Unity08 must continue to carry out even if it wins its lawsuit to avoid PAC status.

The IRS clearly states:

“An organization must electronically file Form 8872 if it has, or expects to have, contributions or expenditures exceeding $50,000 for the calendar year.”

According to the first versions of the (factually incorrect) Forms 8872 submitted for the 2nd and 3rd Quarter of 2006, Unity08 already had reached $50,000 in contributions by the end of the 2nd Quarter. Yet the first versions of the (factually incorrect) Form 8872 submitted by Unity08 for the 2nd Quarter and the 3rd Quarter were in paper form.

This may seem like a small matter, but it is not: paper filings take longer to process and post than electronic filings. This makes financial accountability more difficult to ascertain, since by the time the IRS posts Form 8872 a significant amount of time will have passed. The first, factually incorrect versions of Forms 8872 for the 2nd and 3rd Quarter of 2006 took one month to be posted on the IRS website. It is therefore empirically impossible for the public to determine the state of Unity08′s finances with accuracy.

At this time, there is no factually correct version of donations and expenditures available for public review at the IRS website — whatsoever. No report available for 2Q 2006. No report available for 3Q 2006. No report available for 4Q 2006. Going back to nearly a year ago, there is no independent and factually accurate record of Unity08′s activities available to the public. That’s a problem.

And so these questions:

1. Why has Unity08 not filed its Forms 8872 for the 2nd and 3rd quarter electronically as the IRS appears to require?
2. Did Unity08 file its Form 8872 for the 4th quarter electronically as the IRS appears to require?
3. Will Unity08 commit to post copies of the 2Q, 3Q, and 4Q on its own website for public review?
4. Will Unity08 commit to post copies of its IRS Form 8872 on its own website into the future?
5. Should it lose the lawsuit it filed on January 10, 2007 against the Federal Election Commission, will Unity08 commit to post copies of FEC disclosures as a Political Action Committee on its own website into the future?

What do you think the answers are?

1 comment to Why Is Unity08 Not Filing IRS Forms Electronically?

  • I can take a stab at a very general answer. Unity 08, like most media and government outfits, is not at all prepared for anyone to read closely, be skeptical, scrutinize, and think critically. I’d wager that there are many, many private e-mails flying right now between Unity 08′s governing members. There are likely two thrusts: 1) Oh my God, we’ve got to get it together right now and get organized if we hope to be successful, and 2) Settle down, don’t worry, this Jim fellow is an anomaly and will eventually go away because no one else cares and we’re getting good press.

    Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, you are an anomaly, but don’t stop. I know you’re keeping records of everything you’ve written, and if Unity 08 really does “get big,” you’ll think of a way to present all your work to a mainstream audience and get some traction. I’ll be ready to help at that point, in any way I can.

    Looking ahead, you could probably put together a very good article for the likes of Harper’s. They come to mind because they often print long pieces by people who have done extensive, well-cited work on one topic.

    Onward!

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