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What Would Form 1024 Tell Us About Americans Elect (if they would let us see it?)

If the run-a-private-election-for-president effort called Americans Elect is a 501c4 corporation, as it claims, then it should have filed a Form 1024 with the Internal Revenue Service. That’s the form by which a group applies for recognition of exemption under Section 501. The IRS declares that “a social welfare organization seeking recognition under section 501(c)(4) must complete Parts I through III and Schedule B.” As you can see in Americans Elect’s corporate filings, it has explicitly described itself as a social welfare organization. For over a year now Americans Elect has declared itself to be a 501c4 corporation. It ought to have filed a Form 1024 by now.

501c4 corporations are required by the IRS to share Form 1024 with members of the public upon request. And yet, despite multiple requests I’ve made by multiple means, Americans Elect has not made its Form 1024 available, blasting long past its 30-day deadline for compliance.

What would the public have discovered about Americans Elect if Americans Elect had complied with federal requirements and shared its Form 1024 with the public? Take a look at the questions on Form 1024 to see for yourself:

4. Month the annual accounting period ends
5. Date incorporated or formed
7. Has the organization filed Federal income tax returns or exempt organization information returns?

Part II. Activities and Operational Information (Must be completed by all applicants)
1. Provide a detailed narrative description of all the activities of the organization—past, present, and planned. Do not merely refer to or repeat the language in the organizational document. List each activity separately in the order of importance based on the relative time and other resources devoted to the activity. Indicate the percentage of time for each activity. Each description should include, as a minimum, the following: (a) a detailed description of the activity including its purpose and how each activity furthers your exempt purpose; (b) when the activity was or will be initiated; and (c) where and by whom the activity will be conducted.

2. List the organization’s present and future sources of financial support, beginning with the largest source first.

3. Give the following information about the organization’s governing body:
a Names, addresses, and titles of officers, directors, trustees, etc. b Annual compensation

4. If the organization is the outgrowth or continuation of any form of predecessor, state the name of each predecessor, the period during which it was in existence, and the reasons for its termination. Submit copies of all papers by which any transfer of assets was effected.

5. If the applicant organization is now, or plans to be, connected in any way with any other organization, describe the other organization and explain the relationship (e.g., financial support on a continuing basis; shared facilities or employees; same officers, directors, or trustees).

7. State the qualifications necessary for membership in the organization; the classes of membership (with the number of members in each class); and the voting rights and privileges received. If any group or class of persons is required to join, describe the requirement and explain the relationship between those members and members who join voluntarily. Submit copies of any membership solicitation material. Attach sample copies of all types of membership certificates issued.

8. Explain how your organization’s assets will be distributed on dissolution.

9. Has the organization made or does it plan to make any distribution of its property or surplus funds to shareholders or members? Yes No
If “Yes,” state the full details, including: (1) amounts or value; (2) source of funds or property distributed or to be
distributed; and (3) basis of, and authority for, distribution or planned distribution.

10. Does, or will, any part of your organization’s receipts represent payments for services performed or to be performed?
If “Yes,” state in detail the amount received and the character of the services performed or to be performed.

11. Has the organization made, or does it plan to make, any payments to members or shareholders for services performed
or to be performed?

If “Yes,” state in detail the amount paid, the character of the services, and to whom the payments have been, or will
be, made.

15. Has the organization spent or does it plan to spend any money attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any person to any Federal, state, or local public office or to an office in a political organization?

If “Yes,” explain in detail and list the amounts spent or to be spent in each case.

Part III. Financial Data (Must be completed by all applicants)
Complete the financial statements for the current year and for each of the 3 years immediately before it. If in existence less than 4 years, complete the statements for each year in existence. If in existence less than 1 year, also provide proposed budgets for the 2 years following the current year.

A. Statement of Revenue and Expenses
(a) Current Tax Year 3 Prior Tax Years or Proposed Budget for Next 2 Years
1 Gross dues and assessments of members
2 Gross contributions, gifts, etc.
3 Gross amounts derived from activities related to
the organization’s exempt purpose (attach
schedule) (Include related cost of sales on line 9.)
4 Gross amounts from unrelated business activities (attach schedule)
5 Gain from sale of assets, excluding inventory items (attach schedule)
6 Investment income (see page 3 of the instructions)
7 Other revenue (attach schedule)
8 Total revenue (add lines 1 through 7)
9 Expenses
Expenses attributable to activities related to the
organization’s exempt purposes
10 Expenses attributable to unrelated business activities
11 Contributions, gifts, grants, and similar amounts
paid (attach schedule)
12 Disbursements to or for the benefit of members (attach schedule)
13 Compensation of officers, directors, and trustees (attach schedule)
14 Other salaries and wages
15 Interest
16 Occupancy
17 Depreciation and depletion
18 Other expenses (attach schedule)
19 Total expenses (add lines 9 through 18)
Excess of revenue over expenses (line 8 minus line 19)

B. Balance Sheet
Assets
(attach schedule)
Liabilities
(attach schedule)

Wouldn’t this be pretty interesting and pretty telling information about Americans Elect? The American public could know these things about Americans Elect, if only Americans Elect would comply with federal regulations and comply with the multiple requests I’ve made to share Form 1024.

Why does Americans Elect refuse to share Form 1024 despite federal requirements that it do so? Beats me; I’ve asked Americans Elect why and its officials won’t answer my questions about that. If you’re interested in the answer, I suggest you ask Americans Elect directly. Try heading up to their headquarters 1 block away from the White House in the penthouse suite of 1775 Pennsylvania Avenue. Try making your request for the documents. If private security officers even let you get close to Americans Elect’s office door, you’ll be luckier than me.

6 comments to What Would Form 1024 Tell Us About Americans Elect (if they would let us see it?)

  • Hooligan

    It amazes me in those Michael Moore movies like Bowling for Columbine, where he actually gets into places like this somehow (only to then go out and do something bizarre like promote Wesley Clark for President, which he did). I don’t think the “real deal” like yourself will ever get the respect you deserve from these folks, Jim. Rather, Democracy21 will probably have to sue for it, only to be stonewalled in court till after the election, at which point it will no longer matter. Sorry to be a pessimist.

    I’ve got some labels I could apply to these “No Labels” folks…

    • Hooligan,

      I’ve got to say that after many months of waiting for Americans Elect to deliver documents that are supposed to be delivered within 30 days, I can’t disagree with your pessimism.

      On the other hand, I think it’s important to document, especially because this is a corporation planning to run its own private election and telling the American people to trust them. Trust requires communication and information. If Americans Elect wants trust, it needs to communicate — and especially so when those communications are federally mandated.

  • Dove

    Can you file a complaint to have the IRS, FEC, ETC investigate AE for non-compliance?

    • Good question. Anyone know the answer to that?

      • Dove

        I found some info:
        EO [Branch of IRS dealing with potentially Exempt Organizations] designs and implements comprehensive projects to address issues that carry the most non-compliance risk. To determine which organizations should be targeted, experienced specialists analyze information from Forms 990 and other sources. This analysis will usually result in the selection of a group of returns for examination or compliance check.

        EO also reviews media reports and receives complaints from the general public and Congress about potential non-compliance by exempt organizations. After confirming the information, and when appropriate, these organizations may be selected for examination or to receive a compliance check. For details on how EO handles complaints about exempt organizations, see Fact Sheet 2008-13.

        http://www.nonprofitexpert.com/IRS/IRS31.htm

  • Lee Mortimer

    References to “a private election” have increasingly appeared in posts about Americans Elect. This is not correct. Whatever AE is doing, it is not “running its own private election.” AE is conducting a “nominating process” to select candidates for a “public election” that will be held on Nov. 6, 2012. All candidates on the ballot will be governed by the same “public” regulations for elections.

    Some of AE’s rules for nominating candidates are not as transparent as they could be. They aren’t transparent enough for me, and I have expressed my concerns to AE. If transparency becomes a bigger concern than other issues in the campaign, the voters can reject the AE-nominated ticket and vote instead for the Democrat or Republican — or any other ticket that may be on the ballot. The choice will be an open and public process. There is nothing “private” about it.

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