Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (MCFR) admitted to spending more than half a million dollars on political activity in 2014 following criminal and IRS complaints filed in June by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The admission came in amended tax returns signed three weeks after CREW filed complaints against the organization for telling the IRS it spent no money on politics. In reality, the group spent more than a third of its budget on political activity.
“MCFR admitting to having spent hundreds of thousands on political activity is a good start, but that does not excuse them for attempting to hide it in the first place,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “They shouldn’t have to wait until they get caught to come clean.”
The complaints against MCFR were part of crackdown on 10 “social welfare” groups who violated their non-profit status by acting as political organizations or broke federal law by lying to the government about their political activity. So far, MCFR is the only one of these groups known to amend its tax returns.
“After the disastrous Citizens United decision, the amount of political spending MCFR did is technically legal,” Bookbinder said. “That makes it so much worse that they attempted to cover up their spending.”
CREW’s original complaint alleged at least $290,000 in political contributions by MCFR. After being caught, MCFR admitted to spending nearly twice as much on political activity.