Want Approval from IRS for Your 501(c)3? A Liberal-sounding Name Helps, Conservative Watchdog Group Found

May 15th, 2013 6:26 PM

Chris Moody of Yahoo! News has a great story this afternoon about the saga the conservative media watchdogs at MediaTrackers had with the Obama IRS. The long and short of it is that after after waiting for more than a year for IRS to approve his 501(c)3 application for the group, conservative activist Drew Ryun  "determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status" and so he "tried a new approach," applying as a nonprofit under the name "Greenhouse Solutions" which was "a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period."

And wouldn't you know it, Moody noted, "[t]he IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions' request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks":

In December 2012, Ryun simply made Media Trackers a project of Greenhouse Solutions and withdrew the Media Trackers application.

The reason for the difference in timing could have nothing to do with the group's name. Greenhouse Solutions was applying for "permanent" nonprofit status after existing as a nonprofit group for some time. Media Trackers, a new group, was just beginning the first steps in the application process. Having a previous file with the IRS could very well have been the reason Greenhouse's application was approved so quickly.

But when news broke last week that the IRS had applied heavier scrutiny to conservative groups seeking nonprofit status from 2010-2012, Ryun said he became convinced that his second application was approved quickly because he applied under the Greenhouse Solutions title, which he called a "liberal-sounding name."

It's substantiated anecdotes like this that make the IRS scandal story even more compelling. Kudos to Ryun and MediaTrackers for their quick thinking and to Moody for sharing their story with Yahoo! News visitors.

We will, of course, be checking to see if stories like Ryun's are shared on the broadcast or cable news networks.