Why has the presidential-nominating corporation called Americans Elect been insisting again and again in public that it is not a political party, while in private it has quietly acknowledged that it is indeed a political party, and not just a state political party but a “national party”?
Today we finally got an answer from documents filed by Democracy21, an organization working “to eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics”:
American Elect is not only devoted to intervening in the 2012 elections, it is actually qualifying itself as a political party for purposes of state ballot access laws. A political party is not eligible to qualify as a section 501(c)(4) tax exempt organization.
But Americans Elect has indeed registered as a 501c4 corporation — and admits its reason for doing so is to hide the names of its big money funders from public view. If Democracy21 is correct (as a subsequent IRS investigation of Americans Elect will show), Americans Elect is simultaneously violating corporate codes and political ethics.
One document that would help clear all this up would be Americans Elect’s application for tax-exempt status as a 501c4 corporation. The federal government requires corporations organized under section 501(c) of the IRS code to make Form 1023/1024, the organization’s application for tax-exempt status (and any letter or other documentation accompanying the organization’s application for tax-exempt status) available upon request within 30 days. That application would contain Americans Elect’s rationale for its qualification as a 501c4 corporation. Given Democracy21’s claims, finding out Americans Elect’s stated rationale for its privileged and secretive status becomes even more important.
I have repeatedly made official requests for just such Form 1023/1024 documents and accompanying letters to Americans Elect over the course of the past nine months. Since April of 2011, I have been posting copies of these requests online to make a record. Americans Elect Chief Technology Officer Joshua Levine has personally received these requests. They have gone unanswered, despite the expiration of the 30-day mandated period for compliance. Given the new relevance of Americans Elect’s secret and undisclosed application to the IRS for tax-exempt status, the release of these documents you and I have a right to see becomes all the more important. Every day, Americans Elect’s silence on this and related matters grows louder.