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IRS Audits Nation's Top Teachers' Union
AP | 11/25/03 | LARRY MARGASAK

Posted on 11/25/2003 2:14:43 AM PST by kattracks

WASHINGTON (AP) - The IRS is auditing the nation's largest teachers union, scrutinizing an organization that works energetically to elect candidates but files tax returns reporting zero political expenditures from member dues.

The National Education Association promised Monday to cooperate, but its president, Reg Weaver, said the union "will not be silenced" by the audit or the conservative law firm that requested it.

NEA spokeswoman Kathleen Lyons said the audit began last week. "It will be a complete, thorough audit," she said. "The IRS has not singled out any particular aspect of our activities."

Weaver and Lyons predicted the association would be exonerated, contending the IRS found no problems when it audited the NEA's 1993 tax return. The IRS is prohibited by law from publicly discussing audits of specific taxpayers.

The NEA has tax-exempt status as a union but must report political expenses "direct and indirect" on its tax return. Some of those expenses could be considered taxable by the IRS. It defines a political expense as "one intended to influence the selection, nomination, election or appointment of anyone to a federal, state, or local public office."

The Associated Press, which first reported on the NEA's tax returns three years ago, has reviewed the NEA's filings from years 1993 through 1999 and hundreds of pages of internal NEA documents. The records showed the 2.7 million-member union spent millions of dollars to help elect pro-education candidates, produce political training guides and gather teachers' voting records.

A July 1999 strategic plan, for instance, stated the union budgeted $4.9 million for the 2000 election for such things as "organizational partnerships with political parties, campaign committees and political organizations."

Part of the money, the document said, would be spent on a "national political strategy" which involved "candidate recruitment, independent expenditures, early voting, and vote-by-mail programs in order to strengthen support for pro-public education candidates and ballot measures."

The documents were gathered by Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm that has filed complaints with the IRS seeking an audit and a criminal investigation of whether the NEA evaded taxes.

Landmark received the NEA documents as part of a lawsuit it filed that forced the IRS to disclose records identifying members of Congress who had asked the tax agency to audit political opponents.

Mark Levin, president of Landmark, hailed the IRS audit and said Monday the NEA "has diverted tens of millions of dollars in membership dues to influence political campaigns, for which it hasn't paid a wooden nickel in taxes."

"It appears that the NEA may finally be called to account for its failure to tell the government - and its members - how much it is spending on politics," he said.

Weaver, the NEA president, said his organization will "vigorously defend our constitutional right to speak to our members about the role of politics in public education."

Union members "have a right to be involved in politics," he said. "Our organization will not back down in the face of those who want to bully us out of our rights as Americans."

Marcus Owens, a tax attorney who headed the IRS tax-exempt organizations division, said it was not unusual for the agency to wait three years to act after Landmark's 2000 audit request.

He said an audit of a major organization like the NEA could only be conducted if high-level agents were available.



TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: campaignfinace; educationnews; ira; nea; unioncorruption; unions

1 posted on 11/25/2003 2:14:43 AM PST by kattracks
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To: kattracks
Weaver, the NEA president, said his organization will "vigorously defend our constitutional right to speak to our members about the role of politics in public education."

What are you yammering on about? The IRS only cares about taxable political money and doesn't care what lies you tell your members.

2 posted on 11/25/2003 3:31:52 AM PST by jimtorr
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To: kattracks
About time...now the IRS needs to audit the black churches that host the RAT pols at election time. They do it extremely openly here in Memphis at the large ones.
3 posted on 11/25/2003 3:36:17 AM PST by GailA (Millington Rally for America after action http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/872519/posts)
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To: kattracks
and gather teachers' voting records.

How creepy is that? Are Marxists able to look up any person's voting record?

4 posted on 11/25/2003 3:40:48 AM PST by witnesstothefall
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To: GailA
About time...now the IRS needs to audit the black churches that host the RAT pols at election time.

Amen!

5 posted on 11/25/2003 4:25:34 AM PST by mombonn (íViva Bush/Cheney!)
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To: kattracks
The National Education Association promised Monday to cooperate,

big of them.

6 posted on 11/25/2003 4:54:37 AM PST by thiscouldbemoreconfusing
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To: kattracks
For example, last year we helped the NEA -- boasting 2.7 million members -- pass sweeping new policies directing its members to address lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in their work.

http://www.academia.org/news/educ_homosex.php

7 posted on 11/25/2003 6:46:51 AM PST by GrandMoM ("Without prayer, the hand of GOD stops, BUT, with prayer the hand of GOD moves !!!)
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To: yall
Landmark Legal Foundation did the grunt work!

Previous article:

"Group Says Teachers Union Avoided Taxes (Landmark Legal Foundation outs NEA)
ASSOCIATED PRESS ^ | 9/4/03 | LARRY MARGASAK"

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/976210/posts

8 posted on 11/25/2003 7:51:32 AM PST by adam_az (.)
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To: kattracks
ABOUT TIME!!!!!!

When will they get to Jessee Jackson?????
9 posted on 11/25/2003 7:52:46 AM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: kattracks
I'd like to see the IRS abolished, but until then, this seems to be a pretty good use of their resources... Trapping cheating rats!
10 posted on 11/25/2003 7:53:08 AM PST by adam_az (.)
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To: kattracks
Working for the NEA sure pays Well!
11 posted on 11/25/2003 8:31:58 AM PST by isthisnickcool (Guns!)
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To: Coleus; Domestic Church; Homeschoolmom
NEA ping.
12 posted on 11/25/2003 8:33:16 AM PST by Calpernia (Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does.)
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To: kattracks
Finally!!
13 posted on 11/25/2003 8:52:06 AM PST by Pete
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To: witnesstothefall
and gather teachers' voting records.

How creepy is that? Are Marxists able to look up any person's voting record?

There is no record of how a person voted, but they can look up someone's voter registration to see what party they are affiliated with. And they can survey their members to see how they are voting.

It is an awful thing. I have a friend who works for the US Postal Service and he has told me that he is actually afraid to vote Republican because the union will find out.

I thought he was crazy at first, but I've heard other stories that make me believe him.

14 posted on 11/25/2003 8:59:42 AM PST by Mannaggia l'America
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To: kattracks
article link is f'ed up....
15 posted on 11/25/2003 9:03:55 AM PST by adam_az (.)
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To: kattracks
How sweet it is!!!
16 posted on 11/25/2003 9:10:25 AM PST by OldFriend (DEMS INHABIT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE)
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To: OXENinFLA
When will they get to Jessee Jackson?????

When hell freezes over.

17 posted on 11/25/2003 9:47:11 AM PST by talleyman (Caviar emptor (a warning from the sturgeon general))
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To: EdReform; *Education News
BTTT
18 posted on 11/25/2003 9:54:48 AM PST by EdReform (Support Free Republic - Become a Monthly Donor)
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To: EdReform; *Education News
BTTT
19 posted on 11/25/2003 9:54:55 AM PST by EdReform (Support Free Republic - Become a Monthly Donor)
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To: witnesstothefall
How creepy is that? Are Marxists able to look up any person's voting record?

The record of what elections you did and did not vote in is public information.

Political parties access the whole voter list as a matter of course.

20 posted on 11/25/2003 1:02:23 PM PST by JohnnyZ (Colgate Raiders Football -- 12-0 and headed to the playoffs)
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