Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

H&R Blockhead

Originally published at "PRT Is A Joke" IS A JOKE v.1
Words written with wildcards (***, !!!, etc.) was the way we originally wrote
Ken Avidor, Ken, and Avidor.

*** ****** got a new line of attack recently. This time the Talking Point concerns the group Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit. In a sprawling multi-part posting at LL, he writes:

The CPRT its [sic] July 2005 newsletter has encouraged its members to work for... 3 opponents of DFL candidates. Source
The Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit (CPRT) say on their website that they are a 501(c)3 Non-profit organization. In their July Newsletter they ask their membership to help several candidates for Minneapolis City Council Source

The implication of this new Talking Point is that CPRT is violating its nonprofit (aka "501(c)3") status under federal tax law.

Who are the candidates? Resmuglicans? No, they're environmentalist Greens Dean Zimmerman, Aaron Neumann and Dave Bicking. But PRT is ***'s litmus test for liberalism (see also "Litmus Test," 8.16.05), and because all three support PRT he must attack them.

*** must be counting on no one actually reading the CPRT article. Because there aren't any violations:
:: The article contains no explicit endorsement of Zimmerman's candidacy. It reads that he supports PRT, and links to his website. A request is made to help Zimmerman "line up groups for him to speak to about PRT... Please help find Dean some speaking engagements." This relates to his constituent-service work, not his reëlection campaign.

:: Similarly, the brief mention of Neumann reads, exactly, "Councilman Zimmermann also reports that Aaron Neuman, a Green Party candidate for Ward 3, is a strong PRT supporter. His website is ww w. voteneumann .org. It is time to get acquainted!" CPRT does not ask its readers to "help" Neumann.

:: This is followed by an even briefer mention of Bicking's candidacy, and the fact that he supports PRT. No one is asked to "help" Bicking either.
While IRS regs are strict, CPRT has not violated them. ***'s claim — that CPRT asked supporters to work for or help Zimmerman, Neumann and Bicking — is a fabrication. CPRT also did not contribute funds to the candidates, nor urge funds be donated to them, nor state CPRT's position toward their candidacies.

Another indication of the shoddiness of this attack is in ***'s post about a fourth candidate, St. Paul mayoral candidate Elizabeth Dickinson, who seems to have retracted a statement supporting PRT (and *** tries to get some self-congratulatory mileage out of it). But even the CPRT article on her contains no explicit endorsement, merely the quote from her website in which she stated the need to support PRT, not her candidacy.

Finally, in a post late today, *** writes that he thinks the IRS Code "seems very clear" about political activism by nonprofits. If he really thinks so — and really understood what he was reading (let's not take that for granted, though: in the post he also writes "I'm not an lawyer") — then he is being disingenuous with this new attack.

PRT and the IRS? Another ****** 'bombshell' amounting to nothing.


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