The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should investigate Delaware incorporated group CLA, Inc. for failing to file its 2018 tax returns on time after engaging in political activity that seeks to influence elections and public opinion. CLA, Inc.’s failure to comply with IRS regulations appears to be part of a trend of shady groups posing as nonprofits to funnel money into political activities without any accountability.
Tax documents, news reports, and political spending disclosures show CLA, Inc. was actively engaged in fundraising and spending during its 2018 tax year. Additionally, two nonprofits known for secretive political spending, American Action Network, Inc. and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Inc., gave the group a combined $550,000 during a period that overlapped with CLA, Inc.’s 2018 tax year. CLA, Inc. spent more than a million dollars in six congressional primary races during the period. They also funded advertisements in five congressional districts praising specific members of Congress for supporting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and urging them to support additional tax cuts. Finally, CLA, Inc. maintained a website during 2018 where it promoted conservative political causes and posted press releases announcing its political and issue spending plans. Their tax returns could answer questions of substantial public about the source of their funding, especially given their extensive political activity.
CREW contacted CLA, Inc.’s treasurer but the correspondence did not lead to the release of the group’s tax returns. If the IRS is serious about stemming the tide of secretive political spending, then they will compel CLA, Inc. to stop violating the law and file their 2018 tax returns.