Conservative Group Quickly Granted Non-Profit Status After Changing Name to A 'Liberal-Sounding' One
After being stymied by the IRS for over a year, the conservative watchdog group, Media Trackers decided to try a different tack. They changed their organization's name to 'Greenhouse Solutions', and were granted non-profit status in three weeks.
In an interview with Yahoo News, Drew Ryun, the conservative activist behind Media Trackers said, "Do I think we benefited from what many think is a liberal-sounding name? Absolutely."
Ryun began the application process to achieve non-profit status in May of 2011, and submitted the paperwork to the IRS in July of that year.
Eight months passed without word from the agency about the group's application, Ryun said. In February 2012, Ryun's attorney contacted the IRS to ask if it needed more information to secure its nonprofit status as a 501(c)3 organization. According to Ryun, the IRS told him that the application was being processed by the agency's office in Cincinnati, Ohio—the same one currently facing scrutiny for targeting conservative groups—and to check back in two months.
As directed, Ryun followed up with the IRS in April 2012, and was told that Media Trackers' application was still under review.
When September 2012 arrived with still no word from the IRS, Ryun determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status, and he tried a new approach: He applied for permanent nonprofit status for a separate group called Greenhouse Solutions, a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period.
The IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions' request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks.
In December 2012, Ryun simply made Media Trackers a project of Greenhouse Solutions and withdrew the Media Trackers application.
The Yahoo article goes on to note that the difference in timing could be due to the fact that Greenhouse Solutions had been applying for "permanent" nonprofit status after existing as a nonprofit group for some time, and Media Trackers was just beginning the application process. (Which apparently takes years if you're a conservative group.)