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October 5, 2006

California's Capital Resource Institute -- Isn't This Illegal?

-- by Dave Johnson

I became aware of California's Capital Resource Institute because they mailed out a "Christians vote your conscience" e-mail today that was remarkably similar to those sent by Dobson's Focus on the Family and others, encouraging people to vote for Republicans without technically using the word "Republican."

When more Christians apply their biblical values at the ballot box, there will be a significant change in our government - more godly leaders will be elected to office and our laws will once again uphold the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom.

... Just two years ago "Values Voters" made a huge difference in the 2004 election. Together we can make a huge difference in this one too.

Their website states, "Capitol Resource Institute is California's leading pro-family grassroots advocacy group." They are a 501 (c)3 : from their donations page:
Capitol Resource Institute, 1414 K Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95814. Your donations to CRI are tax-deductible under IRS code section 501(c)3.
The advisory board consists of Republican elected officials and a talk show host. Their Voter Information asks "Is Your State Legislator Family-Friendly?" and links to a Republican Party site: [note - PDF] http://www.californiarepublicanassembly.com/pdfs/CRALegislativeScorecard2005.pdf. Republicans score high, Dems score low. Duh.

501 (c)3 tax-exempt organizations are prohibited from conducting partisan operations, as Capital Resource Institute appears to be doing. This organization appears to be little more than a front group for the Republican Party, set up in a way to give tax breaks to party supporters. The Christian Coalition's tax-exempt status was revoked for exactly this reason.

And look who shares the same offices: Pacific Research Institute. (More info here.) From the PRI website:

Sacramento Office:
1414 K Street, Suite 200

Posted by Dave Johnson at October 5, 2006 6:09 PM

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Comments

Dave swings ... and it's a fly ball to deepest center field ... hasta la vista!

Very nice work. Now, follow through by mailing documentation to the closest IRS office you can find, cc'ing some news operations.

If you're a 501c3 it really IS easy to obey tax law. Which suggests you have to be really stoopid to break it as blatantly as these guys.

Posted by: Lex [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2006 7:31 PM

Dave, you should also send this to Americns United for Separation of Church and State...they send warning letters and file lawsuites and IRS complaints

Posted by: dr o [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2006 11:34 AM

Wow. That is indeed a home run. Sharing an office with PRI is probably legal, but making a partisan candidate endorsement definitely is not. These guys should get hammered.

One of the successes of the No on 54 campaign that accompanied the recall in 2003 was nailing Ward Connerly with misusing his non-profit's status to inject untraceable money into politics. Not at all analogous -- this is much more obvious and much worse.

Posted by: janinsanfran [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2006 4:38 PM

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