A nonprofit group run
by an Obama administration appointee may have supported Democratic mayoral candidates in California in violation of federal law, according to a legal complaint filed with the IRS this week.
The Washington Free Beacon reported
Friday that the California-based Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) —
– which is funded in part by federal taxpayers —
was paid tens of thousands of dollars for services in support of two San Diego mayoral candidates despite the fact that it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which is legally prohibited from supporting or opposing candidates for public office.
The complaint was filed by Cause of Action, a conservative legal watchdog, which requested that the IRS investigate the EHC’s tax status.
The EHC’s founder and executive director is community organizer Diane Takvorian,
selected by President Obama in 2009 for a position on the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
The Free Beacon reported that just since last year, the EHC has received $350,000 in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Takvorian, who also served in the Clinton administration, runs a sister 501 (4) organization called the Environmental Health and Justice Campaign (EHJC). It shares at least six staffers (including Takvorian) and an address with the EHC, according to the Free Beacon.
The EHJC endorsed the 2012 re-election of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat, and formed an entity called the Environmental Health and Justice Campaign Fund to support his candidacy. That group reportedly paid EHC nearly $22,000 for "campaign workers (sic) salary to support Bob Filner."
Filner won re-election, the EHJC celebrated the "victory" and Takvorian posted a photograph with the mayor on her Facebook page, according to the Free Beacon.
The following year, Filner resigned from office in disgrace in connection with sexual harassment allegations.
After more than a dozen women accused him of harassment, Filner pleaded guilty
to one felony count of false imprisonment by violence, fraud, menace and deceit and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
IRS rules absolutely bar 501(c)3 organizations from "directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
The EHJC had its nonprofit status "revoked in 2010 after it failed to file its form 990, required of all nonprofit groups, for three consecutive years," the Free Beacon reported.
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