February 13, 2016

Dems file complaints with GAB, IRS

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin files complaints alleging illegal use of tax-exempt status by billionaire David Koch. Party Chair Mike Tate points to Koch’s recent admission to his involvement in a TV ad paid for by Americans for Prosperity — a nonprofit organization Tate calls “a farce.” He says it “is spending money on our airways to influence the election in favor of (Governor) Scott Walker.”

Americans for Prosperity is spending about $700,000 on its TV spots in Wisconsin. State Dems are asking 19 Wisconsin and four Minnesota TV stations to pull the ads, and they’re filing complaints with the Government Accountability Board and the Internal Revenue Service.

Citing an article in the Palm Beach Post, Tate says Koch’s own words show wrongdoing. Koch acknowledges working hard as Walker faces a recall election. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”

Tate says it’s a very clear admission from Koch that “he’s using and abusing this loophole in IRS code and in election law to spend tax-deductible money to the benefit of a candidate.”

The GAB says if the commercials are “issue ads” that don’t specifically say “vote for” or “support,” they are not covered by campaign finance laws.

In a statement, Americans for Prosperity and the MacIver Institute call the complaint “frivolous” and say it “has no merit whatsoever and will be thrown out.” The group’s Wisconsin Director Luke Hilgemann says the Democratic Party has “no legal ground to stand on” and is “resorting to intimidation tactics and threats against Wisconsin television stations.”

Tate expects a thorough investigation.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:47

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