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Complaint filed with IRS by labor movement against anti-union corporate front groups


Complaint filed with IRS by labor movement against anti-union corporate front groups

by Ron Moore

The AFL-CIO and Change to Win filed a joint complaint with the Internal Revenue Service today against Rick Berman’s Center for Union Facts and Bernie Marcus’ the Marcus Foundation for violating their “charitable” tax status by engaging in partisan political activity on behalf of Republican Senate candidates during the 2008 election.

The complaint alleges that the two 501(c)(3) organizations should have their tax status revoked because Marcus, Berman and another Marcus Foundation official explicitly endorsed and tried to raise money to elect six Republican candidates on a conference call just two weeks before Election Day. On the teleconference, they repeatedly asked for contributions, to the candidates and the Center for Union Facts itself, in order to elect Senators who opposed the Employee Free Choice Act.

The call, hosted by Bank of America, was titled “The Impact of Card Check Legislation on the Retail Industry” and was attended by representatives of numerous businesses. But the teleconference was primarily devoted to a discussion about how to support the Republican Party and the specific Republican candidates who opposed this legislation.

“Bernie Marcus and Rick Berman have a history of playing fast and loose with the facts, and now they’re playing fast and loose with the law,” said Change to Win Chair Anna Burger. “America’s working families voted for change in November because of greedy corporate CEOS who will do and say almost anything to deny workers a fair share of the profits created by their hard work. We filed this complaint with the IRS to stop Marcus and Berman from violating the law in their campaign against workers and their families.”

“Bernie Marcus and Rick Berman are no-holds-barred leaders of a network of people and organizations that despise worker rights and unions,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “Now, they are violating their organizations’ tax-exempt status through partisan political appeals. We call on the IRS to call them to account.”

The complaint states: “During the call, Marcus warned the participants that, if elected, a Democratic Congress and a President Barack Obama would enact ‘EFCA,’ and he states that this would ‘be the demise of civilization’ and ‘would destroy America,’ and that any CEO of a public company ‘should be shot’ if not actively fighting ‘EFCA.’” The specific Senate races referenced during the call were in Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

The nonprofit tax status of the Center for Union Facts has also been the subject of IRS complaints by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Center for Union Facts has served as a corporate front group for anti-worker, anti-union campaigns including fighting an increase in the minimum wage and the Employee Free Choice Act.

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