Near the end of 2009, the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) started leading a campaign calling for the IRS to investigate the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) over potential violations of the terms of HSUS’ 501c(3) tax exempt status. (informally referred to as the campaign to Spay/Neuter the HSUS)
The first phase of the campaign reportedly resulted in thousands of letters with this request being sent to the IRS Fraud Division, over 1100 by registered mail. In the current phase, the request for additional letters requesting IRS investigation continues. This is supplemented by the request to pose similar requests to government representatives.
But WHY would there be a need for such a campaign, you ask?
Because, as referenced in the AR-HR article, “Did the Humane Society (HSUS) Fail to Account for Political/Lobbying Activity of Personnel on IRS Tax Filings?” & according to the IRS website, “Whether an organization’s attempts to influence legislation, i.e., lobbying, constitute a substantial part of its overall activities is determined on the basis of all the pertinent facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial.”
Because as laid out in numerous AR-HR articles and by SAOVA in their summary on this issue, it appears that these rules are being violated.
Because HSUS tax returns from 2005, 2006 & 2007 do not even acknowledge the political activity by HSUS personnel and volunteers despite significant documentation to the contrary, 2008 is the first year to acknowledge such activity yet the numbers do not make a great deal of sense considering the expanded scope of HSUS political activity.
Because HSUS efforts to influence the political processes continue behind the scenes as recently as last week when the following email was sent out be Anne Sterling, the HSUS State (Lobbyist) Director for Indiana.
From: Anne K. Sterling
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 3:58 PM
To: Anne K. Sterling
Subject: Calls needed – HB 1258: Pet Stores & Animal Fighting
Hello! Our primary animal bill this legislative session, HB 1258, is getting a hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20th at 3:30 in the House Courts & Criminal Code Committee, Room 156C.
The bill would address pet stores & animal fighting. (Full document available at the link)
If the HSUS wants to maintain its tax-exempt status, then they need to stop playing politics. If the HSUS wants to play politics, then they need to give up their tax-exempt status.
You have to pay your taxes, why shouldn’t the HSUS have to pay theirs?
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