Former White House Counsel: Media Matters Displays Pattern of 'Unlawful Conduct'

There has been a good deal of discussion of late about whether or not the IRS should launch an investigation into Media Matters’ tax-exempt status. In today’s part two of a three part series from FOX Business’ Elizabeth MacDonald, details of the civilian complaint filed by C. Boyden Gray demonstrate why the former White House counsel to President George W. Bush believes that Media Matters should have its tax-exempt status yanked.

Citing a pattern of “unlawful conduct,” Gray writes in his petition, which FOX Business has obtained, that the nonprofit has “executed a partisan strategy” in violation of U.S. tax law as it exists “no longer to educate the public but, rather, to declare ‘war on FOX,'” Gray says, quoting from an interview its founder, David Brock, gave to the website Politico.

Also unlawful, Gray says, is the nonprofit’s reported goal to “disrupt” the commercial interests of News Corp. (News Corp. is the parent of FOX News and FOX Business.)

Read the whole article, Former White House Counsel to IRS: Pull Media Matters’ Tax-Exempt Status.

Among the activity noted in the complaint:


  • Conducting a campaign to get chain book retailers to stop selling the book, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry
  • Advocating for legislation such as the Fairness Doctrine, which would be in violation of tax law if such activity exceeds an insubstantial amount
  • Stating that it is “looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network,” and intending to “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to [sic] disrupt his commercial interests.”
  • Using tax-free dollars to fund the “Progressive Talent Initiative,” an endeavor “geared toward members of the Netroots community” and aimed at producing “camera-ready liberals” who can speak to the media on progressive issues

So many other examples not even mentioned in the article are readily available. Simply look at some of the domain names the supposed non-partisan non-profit organization owns: NewsCorpWatch, DontTeaseThePanther, TheBeckBoard (now redirects to MMFA home pg), LimbaughWire, and DropFox….just a few out of dozens that are quite clearly campaign oriented. These sorts of pressure tactics are strikingly similar to the labor union playbook, or the more recently updated SEIU “Contract Campaign Manual.”

Media Matters is home to plenty of additional aggressive pressure campaigns. Months and months before the News of the World / News Corporation scandal ever broke in the news, the organization had been hard at work trying to dig up everything it could to ensure that our friends in the United Kingdom would never, ever see a FOX News in their neck of the woods. Their “Help Stop Rupert Murdoch’s Power Play” campaign doesn’t exactly sound like simple public awareness to me. Phrases such as “There is also nothing in them to clearly prevent Murdoch from creating a new news channel along the lines of Fox News” and “I am concerned that the undertakings [compromises offered by News Corporation] do not go far enough to prevent the ‘Foxification’ of the UK’s news agenda” have a certain pressure campaign ring to them. It goes above and beyond merely informing and educating.

As you know, after Media Matters declared war on FOX News, our readers agreed: let’s give them one.

On Friday, the tax law debate continues in Part 3 from FOX Business.

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