CREW filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today requesting it investigate whether America’s Renewable Future, Inc. (ARF) willfully failed to file its 2015 and 2016 tax returns.
Eric Branstad is a political consultant and former Trump Administration official, and served as the group’s president in 2014, when the group was created. When CREW called Branstad to request the forms in April 2018, he expressed surprise that they were not available, and the group’s attorney claimed to CREW–apparently incorrectly–that the tax returns had been filed.
ARF is a tax-exempt organization that raised and spent significant amounts of money during 2015 and 2016, including including nearly $300,000 in political spending during the 2016 presidential primaries.
Despite its spending activities, ARF failed to file Form 990 tax returns for either 2015 and 2016, as required by the federal tax code. The group filed a Form 990 in 2014, which shows they were aware of the obligation to file annual tax returns. CREW notified ARF and its officers and agents of their requirement to file Form 990 tax returns, and their responses show they understood their obligations.
While ARF’s leadership was apparently aware of the requirement to file tax returns, they failed to do so for three years. As a result, ARF appears to have willfully violated the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS should investigate America’s Renewable Future and, should it find the groups has violated its obligations under the law, take appropriate action.