Democrats are charging that Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(3) group with ties to the Tea Party, is violating its tax-exempt status by running ads that are “political in nature” and cross the line into political campaigning.
AFP is the subject of a complaint about ads in Kansas, Missouri and Michigan filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with the IRS, the New York Times reported Friday. A copy of the complaint was provided to the Times.
A spokesman for the group told them that Democrats are scared of the impact the group is having.
“Americans for Prosperity’s TV ads are protected by the First Amendment, and the DCCC is attempting to suppress free speech,” Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, responded to the Times. “While we have not even seen a copy of the complaint, we are confident that it is without merit.”
Groups like Americans for Prosperity, are prohibited with taking part in “any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate” but may educate voters and conduct get-out-the-vote drives “if conducted in a non-partisan manner,” according to I.R.S. guidelines cited by the newspaper.
AFP co-founder, billionaire David Koch, and his brother Charles Koch were subjects of a lengthy profile published in the New Yorker last week.
“I’ve been attacked nonstop, and my brother, as well as AFP, and our company, and our company, Koch Industries, by the liberal media,” he said, according to Dave Weigel.
Some of the ads that the DCCC took issue with are embedded below.