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Obama's IRS punishes veterans' group for daring to support Donald Trump

Donald Trump

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(NaturalNews) The Obama Internal Revenue Service is at it again, persecuting and punishing groups who are politically aligned with opponents of the president, his party and their left-wing ideology.

As reported by The Associated Press, the tax agency revoked the nonprofit status of a veterans benefit group that hosted and sold tickets to a recent foreign policy speech by GOP presidential frontrunner and billionaire businessman Donald Trump aboard a decommissioned battleship.

Also, the AP reported, the organization's endorsement and support of Trump at the event may further raise legal problems under campaign finance laws.

When questioned about the revocation, Trump's campaign did not respond to the AP about whether officials were aware that the IRS had revoked the nonprofit status of Veterans for a Strong America. The group sold tickets to Trump's event for as much as $1,000, as a fundraiser.

The IRS issued its ruling Aug. 10, and alleged that the group had not filed any tax returns for three consecutive years, according to records given the AP to review.

"We disagree"

The AP reported further:

The group's chairman, Joel Arends of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said the organization was appealing the IRS decision. He would not provide AP with copies of any tax returns, which would show how much money the group has collected over the years and how it spends its money. By law, such records are supposed to be available to the general public for inspection.

"We disagree with the IRS determination letter," Arends told the AP in an interview, after appearing with Trump on stage onboard the ship.

The AP said that, regardless of the group's nonprofit status, its endorsement of Trump on board the retired USS Iowa could raise campaign finance questions. According to federal law, corporations must restrict their donations to $2,700 in cash or in-kind contributions to a campaign. However, the event – which was paid for by Veterans for a Strong America – drew in 850 attendees, which cost roughly $11,000.

Also, U.S. statutes generally prohibit candidates from coordinating their campaign actions with outside groups. And statutes prohibit corporations from allotting more than a minimal amount with making endorsements.

"You can do what you want so long as you're independent. But if the FEC finds coordination, a whole lot of rules kick in," Kenneth Gross, a former Federal Election Commission attorney who now works for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, told AP.

Also, the event was admittedly advertised differently from regular Trump campaign events. His staffers did not distribute the customary media advisory with details, but did, however, include it in his upcoming campaign schedule.

Trump campaign officials instructed reporters to contact the veterans' group to obtain credentialing to attend. Also, the campaign separately told supporters in a mass email how to get tickets for the event.

'Nothing illegal here'

"You know, Joel and the group called and they said, 'Would you come over and speak?'" Trump said at the event, noting that he was in California for that evening's presidential debate. "I got here and they asked a couple of days ago would it be possible to come over and say a few words. An endorsement from your group, with so many veterans, hundreds of thousands of veterans, I really appreciate that, Joel. I did not expect it. I didn't expect it, I didn't ask for it. I will say this: I am with the veterans, 100 percent. They're our greatest people."

Arends and the Trump campaign have dismissed any notion that the event wasn't legal.

"The FEC has ruled that a candidate may attend, speak at, and be a featured guest at such events," said the Trump campaign in a statement issued to AP.

"We've got top national election law attorneys that advise and consult with us,"Arends noted, adding that, if there were restrictions on the endorsement of political candidates by nonprofit groups, they would have been made moot by changes in election law following the Supreme Court's Citizens United campaign finance case.

Also, it's worth mentioning that so far neither the IRS nor the Obama Administration has not sanctioned former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for conflicts of interest in soliciting millions of dollars from foreign donors while she served that post.

Finally, given the IRS' past intimidation of conservative groups, it's that obvious the agency is populated with anti-conservative operatives who are doing the administration's bidding, so it's increasingly difficult to take the agency at its word when it says actions directed against this veterans group supporting Trump are legitimate.





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