A coalition of 19 labor and allied groups in Oregon and Washington is urging the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Freedom Foundation, an anti-union group operating in Washington and Oregon. Contributions to Freedom Foundation are tax-deductible because it’s organized as a charitable/educational non-profit under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. But so-called 501(c)(3) groups aren’t allowed to do explicitly political work.
Freedom Foundation took part in an April 2014 fundraiser for Vancouver Republican Lynda Wilson, who went on to defeat Democrat Monica Stonier for state Senate. Freedom Foundation has also filed a series of anti-union lawsuits in Oregon and Washington, and its leaders have said on several occasions that the group’s purpose is to drain union resources to weaken them politically. Needless to say, that’s not a legitimate charitable purpose.
Labor leaders are also calling on Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to perform an independent investigation to ensure that the group is operating for a charitable purpose in accordance with the state Charitable Trust and Corporation Act, and to determine if tax exemption under Oregon law is appropriate.