Jake Jabs Anti-Environmental Group In Trouble?

Is the Western Tradition Partnership (now known as the American Tradition Partnership) about to have big trouble with the IRS and Montana state tax agency?

An investigative report by ProPublica says Western Tradition Partnership lied on its application to get tax-exempt status.

Documents obtained by ProPublica and Frontline show that Western Tradition Partnership, now known as American Tradition Partnership, said it would not attempt to sway elections when it asked the IRS to recognize it as a tax-exempt social welfare organization in late 2008.

Shortly before submitting the application, however, Western Tradition Partnership, which bills itself as a "grassroots lobbying" organization dedicated to fighting radical environmentalists, and a related political committee sent out fliers weighing in on candidates for Montana state office.

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In October 2010, Montana's Commissioner on Political Practices issued a report finding that the group's purpose was "to directly influence candidate elections through surreptitious means." The commissioner determined that the group should have registered as a political committee and reported its donors and should be fined.

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Though the group remains active, the IRS could locate no tax returns for it after 2008. Nonprofits that do not file tax returns for three consecutive years can lose their tax-exempt status.

The report by ProPublica in co-operation with Frontline is a follow-on to a piece they did in 2010, when they reported that dozens of "social welfare non-profit" organizations were lying to the IRS about the amount of money they spent on electioneering and political practices.

Coloradoan Jake Jabs, owner of American Furniture Warehouse, is an active donor to conservative causes; he is the principal donor behind WFP/AFP.

One question unanswered by the ProPublica article: did they file illegally here in Colorado, too?  That might be hard to find out considering who runs the business records office.

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