12:53 PM Eastern - Thursday, October 18, 2012

True the Vote: A Voter Suppression Organization, Not a Charitable One #default

In the 2010, the Department of Justice investigated True the Vote, a subsidiary of the King Street Patriot, a tea-party affiliated group based in Houston, Texas. The group reportedly recruited thousands of volunteers in Harris County, Texas on Primary Election Day to detect voter fraud. The volunteers did not find any evidence of voter fraud, but did hover behind voters as they tried to cast their ballot, were aggressive with election workers who challenged them and disrupted the voting lines. They mostly operated in minority districts, targeting African-Americans and Latinos. The New York Times and independent organizations also cite other numerous accounts of voter intimidation.

Yet, True the Vote has applied as for 501(c)(3) status, which would make them a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. SEIU has written a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urging the agency to reject the application - read the full letter here.

According to the IRS, to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, an organization must be involved in the relief of the poor and distressed or of the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; or lessening of the burdens of Government. True the Vote does not engage in any of these activities, they do however, train volunteers to suppress the votes of minorities and engage in voter intimidation tactics.

True the Vote has frequently attempted to influence political campaigns, engages in lobbying, participates in political campaigns on behalf of conservative candidates, and try to influence legislation. 501(c)(3) are prohibited from intervening in political campaigns, but are involved in practices that are harmful to the community.

According to The Center for Media and Democracy, True Vote, was involved in the "Verify the Recall" effort, recruited volunteers from around the country to enter the Wisconsin recall petitions into a massive online database in hopes of purging the voting rolls. They were joined by Wisconsin tea party groups, Grandsons of Liberty and We The People of the Republic.

True the Vote engages in activities that are contrary to the public interest. They seek to intervene in elections to support hardline conservative candidates and are involved in reprehensible, discriminatory practices that undermine the civil rights of voters. Granting them tax exempt status would undoubtedly legitimize voter suppression.

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