The Minnesota Voters Alliance — a conservative group pushing for photo IDs at polling places and opposing Instant Runoff Voting — has filed a complaint with the IRS against the League of Women Voters.
The group says the it wants the IRS to “review the appropriateness of the tax exempt status of the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF). The complaint is based on the MVA’s just-completed review of the IRS Form 990 tax returns filed by the League of Women Voters United States (LWVUS) and by the LWVEF, as well as other public documents.”
Keesha Gaskins, executive director of the League of Women Voters Minnesota for nearly three years, called the action “confusing.” She said it seems to be directed at the League’s national organization and, as such, she said she couldn’t comment officially.
She wondered, though, if the action might relate to legislative battles over the voter photo ID issue, upon which the League and the MVA have taken aggressive and opposite sides.
In a statement about the IRS complaint, the MVA says it wants the League to be:
“…as open and transparent about who they are and what they stand for as they ask the candidates to be about their political positions.”
The Minnesota Voters Alliance calls on the League of Women Voters to state clearly, at each debate they are involved in, what policy positions they lobby for.
The MVA also would like to see the League call on its directors and officers, as well as on League members who are involved in moderating or organizing debates, to disclose which, if any, candidates for public office and which PACs they or their spouses have made contributions to.
It is notable that the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters Minnesota Education Fund, a tax-deductible (c)(3) organization, is a registered lobbyist in the state of Minnesota.
League director Gaskins said she also serves as executive director of the League of Women Voters Minnesota Education Fund, and is indeed a registered lobbyist — but only on behalf of the League. And she says the League and the fund have always been meticulous in their quest for fairness in all things political.
“The League has been doing nonpartisan work for 90 years, and we’re very careful about separating our positions when educating the public on issues,” she said. “People get straight information from us; we don’t edit candidates’ statements and are very careful to be fair and equitable in the process.”