Report: Planned Parenthood Affiliates Break Tax Rules to Fund Democrats

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood affiliates were among the 24 nonprofits devoting more than half their total spending to influence elections between 2008 and 2013.

According to the liberal group Open Secrets’ Center for Responsive Politics, three of the affiliates allocated more than the 50 percent of their total spending that is allowed by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department to influence elections during portions of the five-year period.

Specifically, data for Planned Parenthood in the St. Louis region is as follows:

YEAR EXPENSES Political Spending Reported to IRS Political Spending Reported to FEC
2009 $422,645 95.70% 14.10%
2010 $  33,441 74.60%    0.00%
2011 $  62,392 79.60% 14.60%
2012 $  66,788 65.80%    0.00%

For Planned Parenthood in Orange and San Bernardino, California, the data are:

YEAR EXPENSES Political Spending Reported to IRS Political Spending Reported to FEC
2009 $280,829 56.60% 0.00%

For Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocacy, the data show:

YEAR EXPENSES Political Spending Reported to IRS Political Spending Reported to FEC
2010 $450,893 51.20% 62.20%

The analysis shows that 24 nonprofits in total went over the 50 percent limit. According to Open Secrets:

Most of the groups are 501(c)(4) organizations –– like public charities but organized under a section of the tax code that classifies them as “social welfare” nonprofits. That designation allows them to shield the identities of their donors from public view and to accept funds in any amount from almost any source. They can also spend unlimited amounts… [but] regulations require that (c)(4) groups be “primarily operated” to promote social welfare, which, according to the IRS, means that their political activity must make up less than 50 percent of what they do.

“Clearly political activity is not considered social welfare under the Treasury regulations,” Marc Owens, a tax attorney and former head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations unit, told Open Secrets.

The other named groups are: The Green Tech Action Fund, Citizens for a Working America, Citizens for the Republic, American Values Action, Hispanic Leadership Fund, New Models, Common Sense Movement, West Virginia Conservative Foundation, American Action Network, Americans for Job Security,, Vets for Freedom, Colorado Family Action, Americans for Tax Reform, and Winning Message Action Fund.

Some of the organizations appear to have spent less than their 50 percent share on politics, but once their grants to other organizations are included, they go above the 50 percent mark, says the report. “These groups played a sort of shell game, masking some of their political spending by giving money to other nonprofits to spend on elections,” it said.

Emily Davis, spokeswoman for American Action Network dismissed the report. “While we have not previously seen this report, an initial look raises questions of accuracy and motive. American Action Network’s IRS filings confirm our organization’s primary social welfare purpose with majority expenditures in issue advocacy. Any suggestion to the contrary is inaccurate,” she said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood’s office in Washington D.C. did not respond to Breitbart.

Interestingly, while Open Secrets produced the research on nonprofits spending more than the IRS allows on politics, the fact that Planned Parenthood dominated their list was not mentioned in its story about the data. Instead, that fact was first noted by Take Back Action Fund, a conservative campaign finance reform group led by John Pudner, who was quoted in the Open Secrets story on its website.

“Certainly it seems like everyone’s ignoring the 50 percent… [and] it certainly seems like some of these [groups’] primary goal is electioneering,” not providing social services, Pudner told the group.

The U.S. Senate voted last week to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding and the abortion business – which claims it provides “women’s healthcare” – is currently under congressional investigation for its apparent practices – as revealed in videos – of selling the body parts of aborted babies and altering the position of babies during abortions so as to harvest intact body parts and organs.

According to Open Secrets, due to the fact that the organizations file their annual Form 990s long after they spend their money, the new data feature does not yet include spending for the 2014 midterm elections.


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