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Common Cause letter to the Maine AG

Common Cause letter to the Maine AG

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Published by thestateofmaine
Common Cause letter to the Maine AG about ALEC
Common Cause letter to the Maine AG about ALEC

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Published by: thestateofmaine on May 03, 2012
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05/03/2012

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 May 3, 2012Attorney General William J. Schneider State House Station 6Augusta, ME 04333Dear Attorney General Schneider:I’m writing on behalf of Common Cause to ask you to investigate the activities of the AmericanLegislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Maine to ensure that the organization is in compliancewith state tax and lobbying laws.Founded in 1973, ALEC is an organization of nearly 2,000 state legislators, including a number of members of the Maine legislature, and more than 140 corporations. ALEC is registered inMaine as a charitable organization and at the federal level enjoys tax-exempt status under section501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.Common Cause has discovered compelling evidence that ALEC is operating in violation of federal tax laws. On April 21, Common Cause filed a complaint to the IRS under the TaxWhistleblower Act seeking an investigation into ALEC’s lobbying activities, the collection of unpaid taxes, and assessment of appropriate penalties. Based on more than 4,000 pages of ALECdocuments, the Common Cause complaint alleges violation of the group’s tax-exempt status,massive underreporting of its lobbying activities, and improper tax deductions for ALEC’scorporate funders.Our 
 pro bono
attorneys at Phillips & Cohen, the nation’s leading whistleblower law firm, havedescribed our complaint as one of the strongest IRS cases they have ever taken.In light of the evidence obtained by Common Cause and provided to the IRS, ALEC’scompliance with state tax, gift, solicitation and lobbying laws should be reviewed by your officeand/or appropriate state regulatory authorities.ALEC’s primary purpose appears to be providing a vehicle for its corporate members to lobbystate legislators and to deduct the cost of that activity as charitable contributions at taxpayer expense. Each year, about 1,000 pieces of ALEC-backed legislation are introduced instatehouses across America. ALEC actively promotes passage of those bills by communicatingwith legislators through emails, “issue alerts,” press releases, “talking points” and other materials provided to help ALEC-member legislators argue on behalf of ALEC’s legislation and/or in

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