The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) attempted to mislead Planned Parenthood officials with its undercover “sting” operation, then attempted to mislead the public with deceptively edited videos. So it should come as little surprise that the organization attempted to mislead the IRS in its application for tax-exempt status.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint last month asking the IRS to look into whether CMP violated federal law by misrepresenting its planned activities in its application for tax-exempt status. This week we received CMP’s application from the IRS, and it provides yet more examples of deceptive conduct by the organization.
CMP presented a misleading picture that obscured its actual plans and purpose: using “undercover” videos to advocate for anti-abortion measures. In an attachment to its Form 1023 application for tax-exempt status, CMP described itself in this way:
“The Center for Medical Progress develops special educational projects to raise awareness about the medical ethics implicated in medical advances, such as stem cell research, and other bioethical issues. These projects are frequently journalistic and multi-media in format. They include, but are not limited to, printed publications, documentary videos, speaking tours, multi-media presentations, articles, reports, and various new media. “
This description appears to contain some kernels of what CMP actually does, but presents an entirely misleading picture that gave the IRS no way to ascertain the true nature of the activities CMP would carry out. To call CMP a producer of bioethical documentaries is almost laughable.
This was not an isolated incident, but part of a calculated effort to obfuscate CMP’s mission. CMP represented on its Form 1023 that it would not attempt to influence legislation. However, not only has CMP Director David Daleiden advocated in the media for congressional action, but CMP’s website encourages members of the public to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to defund Planned Parenthood – something which would require legislation. CMP appears to be engaged in grassroots lobbying, one of the very things it specifically told the IRS it would not do.
CMP also included its website in the application, which at the time apparently presented a blatantly false description of the organization. An archived version of CMP’s website described the group as “a non-profit organization dedicated to informing and educating both the lay public and the scientific community about the latest advances in regenerative medicine, cell-based therapies, and related disciplines.” An IRS employee following the provided address to CMP’s website would have seen an entirely false account of what the organization did.
CMP has edited videos in highly misleading ways, created a fake company in California to facilitate its deceptive practices, and solicited contributions on its website based on a false description of the organization’s purpose. The misleading statements on its application to the IRS seeking tax-exempt status complete the picture of an organization consistently willing to use dishonest tactics to achieve its political objective. Put simply, there does not seem to be much CMP won’t do to hide the true nature of its actions.