• Swamp Watch

Progressive Anti-Tax Simplification Groups Struggle With Basic Reporting Requirements

Read Part I of our reporting on far-left advocacy organizations here.

Over the last few weeks, Louisiana voters have been bombarded with mailers, text-messages, and Facebook ads imploring them to vote against the tax simplification & reform Constitutional Amendments, #1 and #2, on the November 13th ballot. The organizations behind those campaigns, the far-left Louisiana Budget Project and The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice recently had an ethics complaint filed against them by Louisiana Swamp Watch Executive Director James Lee for failing to report their expenditures against those propositions on time.

The Louisiana Campaign Finance Disclosure Act requires reports to be filed with the Board of Ethics for any entity spending more than $1,000 in support or opposition to proposed Constitutional Amendments, a threshold both groups have likely exceeded. Looking at filings for the November 13th election, The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, who has spent thousands on Facebook ads, has failed to report expenditures to the Louisiana Board of Ethics, who regulates campaign finance in the state. The Power Coalition is well aware of reporting requirements, as they last filed a report after the 2019 run-off election. That report showed $77,500 in contributions- mostly from New York and Massachusetts, with $38,500 spent in support of the campaigns of Governor John Bel Edwards, defeated Republican Senator Ryan Gatti, and Democrat candidates for Secretary of State and State Representative.

This isn’t the first time these organizations, who are fighting to maintain the status quo of Louisiana’s complex, burdensome tax code, have struggled to comply with the most basic legal requirements.

According to IRS records, The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice had their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status revoked on May 15, 2021, for failing to file the required Form 990 tax return for three consecutive years. They are no longer eligible to receive tax-exempt contributions or operate without paying taxes, despite the IRS making the filing requirements clear when granting the exemption in 2018. The Form 990 is key for public transparency into the programs of non-profit organizations, and yet again The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice has failed to provide the public with key information about its income, expenditures, and the reason for it to keep its status as a tax-exempt organization. It is also how the IRS determines if an organization is upholding the mission for which it received tax-exempt status.

The Louisiana Budget Project, on the other hand, has not been in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office for over two years, for failing to file annual reports for three consecutive years. Under Louisiana law, failure to file for three consecutive years makes them eligible to have their articles of incorporation and corporate franchise revoked, potentially preventing them from operating legally in the state.

We find it highly ironic that these two far-left organizations, who advocate for more government intervention into the lives of Louisianans, and who are opposing efforts to streamline tax filing for Louisiana businesses and simplify Louisiana’s tax code, have struggled so much to comply with the most basic reporting requirements by both state and federal agencies, that have placed them in jeopardy of not being able to legally operate in the state.

Keep an eye on this space, as we will continue to report on these far-left organizations and take a deeper dive into their operations and funding.