Tax-Exempt Status Legitimizes White Nationalist Ideologues

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The federal government has allowed four groups at the forefront of the white nationalist movement to register as charities and raise more than $7.8 million in tax-deductible donations over the past decade, according to the Associated Press. Already emboldened by Donald Trump’s popularity among some Americans, group leaders say they hope the president-elect’s victory helps them raise even more money and gives them a larger platform for spreading their ideology. With benevolent-sounding names such as the National Policy Institute and New Century Foundation, the tax-exempt groups present themselves as educational organizations and use donors’ money to pay for websites, books and conferences to further their ideology. The money also has personally compensated leaders of the four groups.

New Century Foundation head Jared Taylor said his group raises money for the benefit of the “white race,” a mission taxpayers are indirectly supporting with the group’s status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The IRS recognized it, the Charles Martel Society, the National Policy Institute and VDare Foundation as charities more than a decade ago. Samuel Brunson, a tax law professor at Loyola University in Chicago, noted the nonprofit status gives these groups a veneer of legitimacy and respectability. “It should make people uncomfortable that the government is subsidizing groups that espouse values that are incompatible with most Americans,” he said. The IRS has tried to weed out nonprofit applicants that merely spread propaganda. But some tax experts said the IRS is still feeling the sting from conservative critics over its 2013 concession that it unfairly gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups seeking tax exemptions.

editors note: The resurgence of hate crimes committed by white nationalists were among the developments TCR readers chose for the Top Ten criminal justice news stories of 2016. Read the story here.

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