Four of the most prominent white nationalist groups in the nation have reportedly been able to raise over $7.8 million in tax-deductible donations since the IRS allowed them and similar organizations to register as nonprofit charities over a decade ago, a review by the Associated Press revealed.
The reality of a nation headed by former real estate tycoon Donald Trump is fast approaching and white nationalist leaders said they hope the president-elect’s win will help them rake in even more donations to help spread their racist, Euro-centric ideologies.
Organizations such as the National Policy Institute, New Century Foundation, Charles Martel Society and the VDare Foundation, among others, have branded themselves as tax-exempt, educational charities that use donor contributions to pay for websites, books and conferences to further their agenda, TIME reported. The donated funds also are used to line the pockets of the four groups’ leaders.
All of this is perfectly legal, however, as the IRS recognized the outwardly racist organizations as charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofits more than 10 years ago.
“It should make people uncomfortable that the government is subsidizing groups that espouse values that are incompatible with most Americans,” Samuel Brunson, a tax law professor at Chicago’s Loyola University, said. He went on to note that the organizations’ status as not-for-profit entities gives them a false sense of legitimacy.
Jared Taylor, leader of the New Century Foundation, said his group is dedicated to securing funds for the benefit of the “white race” in the long run, adding that he and his organization have abided by all governing laws for nonprofits.
“We certainly did not conceal our intentions,” Taylor said. “I think we are educational in precisely the terms that Congress defined.”
But, TIME reported that over the ppast few years, the IRS has worked to weed out a number of nonprofit applicants whose sole purpose is to spread propaganda. For instance, in 1978, the government agency denied a tax-exempt status to the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group. A court in 1994 also upheld the IRS’s refusal to grant Mississippi-based white nationalist group, the National Movement, tax-exempt status.
Still, dozens of white supremacist organizations have managed to slip through the cracks and register as tax-exempt charities.
“A lot of applications fly through,” former IRS attorney Philip Hackney said, adding that the agency gets bombarded with a number of applications every year but doesn’t have the time or resources to scrutinize each one. “They’re looking for easy ways to sort things out and kind of give rubber stamps.”
Advocates have since pushed for the IRS to revoke the charitable status of the New Century Foundation and others like it, as it essentially allows the racist groups to receive tax breaks under the veneer of benevolent, educational organizations.
For example, the National Policy Institute, headed by controversial alt-right leader Richard Spencer, collected over $440,000 in tax-deductible donations between 2007 and 2012, according to the Associated Press review. The Georgia-based Charles Martel Society, which praised Trump’s victory as a win for white people who oppose multiculturalism, also raised $568,526 during that same time.
The organizations’ tax-exempt status is equally beneficial to donors seeking a reduction in their tax burden, making it that much more desirable to contribute funding to the dissemination of racist propaganda.
White nationalist leaders like Peter Brimelow, head of the VDare Foundation, which has experienced an increase in donations in the wake of Trump’s election win, said they hope the upward trend will continue well into the former reality star’s presidency. Between 2007 and 2015, the foundation has already raised $4.8 million.
“We have every reason to believe that [this trend will continue],” Brimelow wrote in an email.