Society

White Nationalist Nonprofit Loses Tax-Exempt Status

The National Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization run by white nationalist and prominent Trump supporter Richard Spencer, has officially lost its tax-exempt status after failing to file a tax return with the IRS.

"I don't know what to say," Spencer told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview. "I don't want to make a comment because I don't understand this stuff."

"It's a bit embarrassing, but it's not good. We'll figure it out."

This was not the only time Spencer's organization has neglected to file a tax return, according to The Washington Times. The IRS removed the Institute's tax-exempt status after the third time its members did not file a return.

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"They should have known that they should have been filing," said Philip T. Hackney, a law professor with Louisiana State University. "It's very clear under the law that if you don't file for three years, you lose your status."

On top of the National Policy Institute's brushes with the IRS, the organization was also prohibited from raising funds in Virginia.

The Virginia Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs had reportedly blackballed Spencer's nonprofit from doing business in the state as of February 2017.

"They had sent in a registration form to us years ago, but it was incomplete and we requested additional information," recalled Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs. "We never heard back from them."

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This change became effective in the wake of an online fundraiser in which the National Policy Institute raised over $50,000.

Some of Spencer's comments during the campaign trail also reportedly flew in the face of IRS regulations, though the statements were not directly related to the relinquishing of his organization's tax-exempt status.

Tax experts noted that Spencer made distinctly partisan comments during the campaign trail that violated an IRS prohibition on nonprofits from making "partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions of the organization."

Spencer reportedly kicked off an online fundraiser for the National Policy Institute by stating: "I invite you to join us in the fight against Hillary Clinton, and the liberal agenda that's haunted our country for generations ... I ask you to make a investment of $25, $75, $100, or however much you can spare."

"I would say that the fundraising pitch on the website and the conference that they held where he made those comments, I think that those both definitely are infractions," explained Chuck McLean, a senior research fellow at Guidestar, an organization that keeps tabs on registered nonprofits.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, AP via The Washington Times / Photo Credit: Chris Phan/Flickr