As Dakota War College continues to ignore the hot national story of its golden legal boy Joel Arends’s big-money connection with Archie Bunker in a suit—er, Donald Trump, we learn that the IRS has revoked the non-profit status of Arends’s political veterans organization, Veterans for a Strong America:
501(c)4 non-profits can endorse and spend money on political candidates, as long as such political activity does not become the organization’s primary activity. But the IRS revoked VSA’s non-profit status back in May and posted that revocation in August, before Arends issued his organization’s official endorsement of Trump. They busted lawyer Arends for not filing his legal papers:
The fundraiser on the battleship Iowa this week was ostensibly meant to be a fundraiser for the 501(c)4 VSA, which will “go towards helping Veterans for a Strong America supporting our warriors on and off the battlefield and not to any candidate or candidate’s committee.”
Except the nonprofit status of VSA has since been revoked for failure to file the IRS form 990 for three consecutive years. So, the money from the event will likely go to the VSA Super PAC, and thus, to Joel Arends, who as of last night, may have been the sole member of VSA [Blake Stilwell, “Trump’s Vet Endorsement Came from a SuperPAC Disguised as a Not-for-Profit,” We Are the Mighty, 2015.09.16].
Not only did lawyer Arends fail to file his 990s (good grief, Joel! Even your famous clients, the Haber-Bosworths, remember to file the 990s for their sham non-profit!), but when confronted with questions about his non-profit status revocation, he breaks more law by hiding VSA’s tax returns:
The group’s chairman, Joel Arends of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said the organization was appealing the IRS decision. He would not provide AP with copies of any tax returns, which would show how much money the group has collected over the years and how it spends its money. By law, such records are supposed to be available to the general public for inspection [Jeff Horwitz, “Vet Group Hosting Trump Lost Nonprofit Status,” AP, 2015.09.16].
Arends also apparently tricked the USS Iowa Museum into giving him the non-profit rate for the Trump battleship event:
The head of the USS Iowa Museum said the group received a preferential rate for nonprofits, which are billed $13 a head for large gatherings such as the one hosted by Veterans for a Strong America.
“As far as we knew, this was a nonprofit that supports veterans and we were unaware of who their speaker was until after it was booked,” said museum chief executive John Williams. He said the museum relies on such groups’ self-characterization as nonprofit organizations to determine pricing [Horwitz, 2015.09.16].
Ye shall know false prophets by their fruits… and ye shall know your fruits by their false non-profits.