A nonprofit group founded and run by an N.C. Senate candidate had its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS in 2014.
Democrat Laurel Deegan-Fricke is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. John Alexander in District 15, which stretches from Raleigh’s Five Points north to Falls Lake. She’s founder and CEO of the National Coalition of Native American College Placement Services, which helps minority students access a college education.
The group provides scholarships, and its website describes it as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that accepts tax-deductible contributions.
But the IRS database that allows donors to research the tax status of nonprofit groups shows Deegan-Fricke’s organization had its tax-exempt status revoked in 2014. Reached this week, she said the IRS action was “an error” and the group was later reinstated. Asked to provide documentation showing the group currently has tax-exempt status, she referred a reporter to the group’s chief financial officer, Marc Wicksel.
Wicksel said he would need to contact the IRS to obtain the documents. “I can’t find it anywhere,” he told The N&O. “It’s somewhere.”
IRS spokesman Luis Garcia said Monday that the agency “is not permitted to discuss a particular or specific taxpayer's tax matter or their taxes based on federal disclosure regulations and federal law.” He referred The N&O to the IRS online database.
Nonprofit groups cannot engage in political activity under federal law, but when Deegan-Fricke announced her candidacy, the National Coalition of Native American College Placement Services posted a news release on Facebook asking the nonprofit’s supporters to “join us in supporting her campaign.”
Deegan-Fricke defended the news release. “We had to make an announcement that my time will not be spent 100 percent with the nonprofit anymore until this campaign is over,” she said, adding that the nonprofit doesn’t coordinate with her campaign. “There’s a strict divide between the two.”