EXCLUSIVE — A conservative ethics watchdog is demanding the IRS audit a George Soros-funded nonprofit group over its alleged failure to disclose its lobbying activities following a Washington Examiner report.
The immigration advocacy group Alianza Americas claimed on its 2019 and 2020 Form 990 tax returns that it did not engage in any lobbying, the Washington Examiner revealed Saturday. But since Alianza discloses “extensive lobbying activities” in these same documents, the IRS “must” investigative the 501(c)(3) charity to see if it should face “civil or criminal penalties” or even lose its tax-exempt status, the National Legal and Policy Center alleged in a Wednesday complaint to the IRS.
“It seems abundantly clear that Alianza Americas has violated the IRS laws and regulations for failing to report that it engages in lobbying activities as defined by the IRS and failing to file the required Schedule C listing the expenditures for such activities,” said the NLPC’s complaint, which was first obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Alianza is best known for filing a September lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over him flying illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The immigration group accepted roughly $1.4 million from Soros’s Open Society Foundations network between 2016 and 2020, records show.
In its 2019 and 2020 tax filings, Alianza disclosed it partnered with groups to “engage” holders of “temporary protected status” — which lets immigrants stay in the United States if their native country is dealing with extraordinary conditions such as armed conflict.
Alianza brought TPS holders “to policymakers in Congress,” the group disclosed in filings, and held “two congressional briefings” in Washington, D.C., on TPS and other immigration policies. Between June 2017 and September 2019, Alianza made over 200 “visits to Congress,” it said in filings.
Nonetheless, Alianza checked “no” on its 2019 and 2020 filings to the question: “Did the organization engage in lobbying activities, or have a section 501(h) election in effect during the tax year?”
But a group is engaged in lobbying if it “contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation” or also “advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation,” according to the IRS.
“The IRS must conduct a full investigation and audit of Alianza Americas’ lobbying activities … because the Form 990s were signed under penalty of perjury, and to revoke its tax-exempt status if warranted,” said NLPC’s complaint. “The public interest demands it.”
NLPC’s complaint comes after former Health and Human Services chief of staff Brian Harrison and GOP Texas Reps. Chip Roy and Beth Van Duyne on Saturday demanded the Department of Health and Human Services “audit” Alianza to see if it illegally used federal grant money for lobbying. Alianza, in 2021, received $8.5 million in federal grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Health Resources and Services Administration — two agencies under HHS.
Federal grant money cannot be used “directly or indirectly” to “pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device” or influence the government to take a position on law or policy, according to federal law.
“Not only does it appear that this George Soros-funded group may have violated federal criminal law that bans any lobbying with federal grant money, they may have also committed perjury by falsely stating on their IRS filings that they do not engage in any lobbying activities when it appears they clearly do,” Paul Kamenar, counsel for NLPC, told the Washington Examiner.
It remains unclear if Alianza engaged in the same alleged lobbying activities in 2021 and 2022. Tax filings for those years are not publicly available yet.
Still, Alianza notably tweeted on Sept. 12 that it “met with representatives” from the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). The meeting was “to share about the urgency of defunding” both Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was part of Alianza’s “Freedom for All” campaign launched in February.
“To guarantee #FreedomForAll, we must end immigration detention and re-invest the billions spent on lock-ups to fund a universal legal representation program for people who migrate and those in any immigration proceedings,” Alianza’s “Freedom for All” website states. “Join the movement.”
“The IRS must do a full investigation and audit of this group,” Kamenar added.
Alianza, HHS, and the IRS did not respond to requests for comment.