Despite their claim to be a “nonpartisan research and educational institute” – the Buckeye Institute is clearly nothing of the sort.
Not only is the Buckeye Institute staffed exclusively by right wing nuts like Ken Blackwell (and Matt Naugle, if you believe the rumors) – but they also push exclusively right wing policies.
Since U.S. politics is dominated by two parties, and right wing nutjobs belong to only one of those parties (Republican), in my book that clearly makes them a partisan organization.
Of course, none of the stuff I just mentioned is disallowed under the IRS rules for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations like the Buckeye Institute.
Despite the fact that this classification is supposed to go to “charitable organizations” like churches or the Red Cross, organizations like the buckeye institute, who claim to be educating voters, can still slip through the cracks.
But with their recent lawsuit I’m starting to wonder if they may have just crossed over the line.
According to IRS rules, 501(c)(3)’s are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in” any kind of political activity” that…
(a) would favor one candidate over another;
(b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or
(c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates
But in their recent lawsuit they specifically demand the “dissolution of ACORN” (as well as the “awarding of attorneys fees” back to the Buckeye Institute for cost of bringing this lawsuit).
Given that ACORN’s goal is the register “young people, minorities and poor and working-class voters” – i.e. voters that typically vote Democratic – it is clear that the Buckeye Institute’s goal is to, in the short term, support the candidacy of the Republican Candidate John McCain and, in the long term, prevent Democratic voters from being registered.
Maybe they aren’t breaking the law, per se, but they certainly are going against the spirit of the law which was written to ensure true charitable organizations can operate tax free and to prevent obviously-partisan groups like the Buckeye Institute from trying to sway elections while not paying the appropriate taxes.
Not only is the Buckeye Institute wasting taxpayer dollars by filing
frivolous lawsuits like this one – they are also, in my opinion, breaking IRS rules and defrauding the U.S. government by conducting obviously-partisan activities like this while operating as a tax-exempt organization.