Thursday, July 26, 2012

A familiar ring in this politics of non-profits

I have been reflecting on an interesting parallel, which I assume is purely coincidental, between the question of whether Moving Nashville Forward is a non-profit or a political action committee and confusion expressed here in 2011 over Stand for Children's (a non-profit) endorsing Karl Dean for Mayor.

According to MNF leader Erik Cole, his group is pursuing non-profit status that would permit them to keep the $26,000 that "Dean for Mayor" donated to their efforts to market Karl Dean's budget proposal in the run-up to the Metro Council vote earlier this summer. Cole told reporter Joey Garrison yesterday that his organization is listed as a 501(c)(4). Garrison could not find confirming evidence of MNF's non-profit certification. A source told me that according to the Tennessee Secretary of State's records, Moving Nashville Forward is not certified here as a 501(c)(4).

501(c)(4) is exactly the non-profit status that permitted Stand for Children to endorse Karl Dean for Mayor in the last election. Last year readers were wondering how a non-profit can endorse political candidate and keep its tax exempt status. SFC does it by maintaining two organizations under one roof: their 501(c)(3) cannot campaign; their 501(c)(4) can.

Incidentally, Moving Nashville Forward's co-principal, Francie Hunt, is the former Nashville Director at Stand for Children.

UPDATE: I cannot find Moving Nashville Forward listed in the Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organizations Master File for Tennessee. That list includes 501(c)(4) organizations reporting to the IRS.


  1. I don't see Stand For Children on that list either

  2. since contributions to 501 c4's are not tax deductible, how does that affect the tax status of Dean's $26,000 donation?

  3. SFC is a national organization with affiliates in 10 states. It was founded in WashDC in the mid-90s. I don't know when it received its exempt status, but I would assume it is listed in one of the other IRS spreadsheets.