March 11, 2016

Lawsuit Isn’t First Time 60 Plus Association Has Been Accused of Lying to the IRS

By Matt Corley

The 60 Plus Association, the seniors-focused conservative nonprofit that has spent millions on influencing elections, is in disarray. Last month, four of the group’s board members, including founder and longtime chairman Jim Martin, filed a lawsuit against another set of board members that includes 60 Plus’s president Amy Noone Frederick.  

Though the fight is largely about control of the board and whether Mr. Martin remains chairman, the complaint filed by the Martin faction also includes a serious accusation that Ms. Frederick is responsible for the organization filing fraudulent tax returns. In the complaint, Mr. Martin’s lawyers claim that he obtained canceled checks showing that Ms. Frederick authorized payments totaling nearly $600,000 to two companies owned by her husband between February 2010 and May 2014.

The group’s tax forms for those years, however, explicitly claim that the organization was not party to any business transaction with any entities owned by family members of officers, directors, or key employees. As president, Ms. Frederick signed the tax forms under penalty of perjury. Ms. Frederick’s husband, former Virginia Republican Party chairman Jeff Frederick, told WorldNetDaily that his companies had worked with 60 Plus since 2000. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit further argue that Ms. Frederick refused repeated requests to “explain the payments to her husband's companies and the apparently false IRS filings” to the rest of the board.

The allegations in the lawsuit aren’t the first time the 60 Plus Association has been accused of lying on its tax returns. In 2014, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that the organization and Ms. Frederick violated federal law by intentionally failing to disclose more than $11 million the group spent on political activity in 2010 and 2012. Three months after CREW’s complaint, 60 Plus filed two amended tax returns with the IRS, admitting to spending $11,283,818 on political activity in 2010 and 2012.

The amended returns, which were prepared by a new accounting firm, suggest 60 Plus had issues that went beyond failing to disclose millions in political spending. The section of the returns that describe the changes that were made include numerous alterations to various parts of the filings other than the schedule that covers political campaign and lobbying activity. Interestingly, the amended 2010 return shows that 60 Plus’s new accountants looked into issues of transactions with interested persons, the section that would include payments to businesses owned by Ms. Frederick’s husband. Even under new scrutiny, however, the return did not disclose transactions with Mr. Frederick’s companies.

Maybe 60 Plus will do so now that the undisclosed payments are drawing scrutiny thanks to the lawsuit. The group responded to CREW’s complaint, after all, by amending its tax returns. It could do so again. 

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