Progressive Advocacy Trust (PAT), a Michigan-based political committee, appears to have violated federal law by failing to notify the IRS of its status as a political organization. CREW filed a complaint with the IRS requesting an investigation.

PAT appears to have improperly failed to report contributions it received and expenditures it made in 2018, meaning the true source of the more than two million dollars PAT gave to groups that ran advertisements during the 2018 election supporting now-Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is unknown.

Under federal law, a group like PAT, known as a “527” organization after the section of the law governing political organizations, must disclose its donors to the IRS or its home state. PAT did neither. Although PAT registered as a political organization in one Michigan county in February 2018, it requested a waiver from the state requirement that it report expenditures and contributions, claiming that the group did not expect to raise or spend more than $1,000 in the year. PAT claimed to the press that it was a section 527 political organization, but never notified the IRS of its existence or filed spending and contribution reports. The group appears to claim it is exempt from disclosing to the IRS because it is either a local political party committee or a qualified local political organization, but PAT is neither. These reporting omissions appear to violate section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.

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