Dome: NC GOP says liberal nonprofits violating federal tax law

jfrank@newsobserver.comJuly 18, 2012 

The N.C. Republican Party sent a complaint Wednesday to the IRS alleging five liberal-leaning nonprofits are violating federal tax law by advocating for political candidates.

The named groups: Democracy North Carolina, the Institute for Southern Studies, N.C. Justice Center, Progress North Carolina and Project Ricochet of North Carolina. All are 501(c)3 charities that can accept tax-exempt donations under the law but are not allowed to voice support for or against a particular candidate.

“The groups that you see listed … have clearly broken the letter and the spirit of the law by directly injecting themselves in a political campaign,” GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said at a press conference.

Democrats and liberal groups make similar claims about conservative nonprofits, such as Americans for Prosperity and Art Pope-backed groups, suggesting their issue advocacy – which is allowed under the law – steps into political territory.

Republicans disputed suggestions that the filing is a political ruse in an election year, but attorney Kieran Shanahan, who filed the complaint on behalf of the party, acknowledged that no resolution is likely this year.

The bulk of the nine-page complaint focuses on one effort, the Out of Control Campaign, which the groups developed largely after Republicans held a midnight special session in January to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a teacher dues bill.

Runoff numbers ‘sad’

The State Board of Elections map showing the results of Tuesday’s primary runoff election looks like it’s bleeding – but at least it can be said that turnout was not the worst ever.

Still, it was “a pretty sad display,” said Gary O. Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

So how bad was it? Out of 6.16 million registered voters, 220,635 ballots were cast.

Here are a few of the more interesting numbers:

31,783: the number of votes cast in Mecklenburg County

26,609: the number of votes cast in Wake County

0: the number of votes cast in one Wake precinct

Michelle Obama returning

Michelle Obama is expected to hold a fundraiser in North Carolina, possibly Aug. 1 in Raleigh, according to Democrats.

Details were not immediately available.

The first lady held fundraisers in Raleigh and in Charlotte on March 2. She was back in the state May 12 to deliver the commencement address at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro.

Staff writers John Frank, Austin Baird and Rob Christensen

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