NLPC is asking the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate the Barack H. Obama Foundation, which is soliciting tax-deductible contributions from the public although it is not tax exempt. The Foundation is named for Obama’s father and is apparently based in Kenya. Its founder and chairman is Abon’go Malik Obama (in photo), whose father is also the father of President Obama.
The Foundation has addresses in Kenya and in Arlington, Virginia to which it asks that donations be sent. Two members of the NLPC staff went to the Arlington address on May 6. It is a commercial mail drop facility where the clerk touted the fact that the address “looked like a real office address” and the facility could arrange to forward mail to any location in the world.
Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein report today in the New York Post that there are questions about what happens to the money:
A group of Missouri State college students who visited the Obama family village of Kogelo in 2009, and who met the president’s half-brother, felt something was amiss. They sensed he was an “operator” and decided to give their donation of 400 pounds of medical supplies directly to a local clinic.
“We didn’t know what he was going to do with them,” said Ken Rutherford, a former Missouri State professor who led the trip and who shared in the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to ban landmines.
The Foundation’s original registered agent in the United States is an American named Alton Ray Baysden, who admitted to the Post that the group has not even applied for tax-exempt status.
As pointed out in our Complaint, federal law requires that organizations seeking to be 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charities must first make a successful application to the Internal Revenue Service and satisfy the standards ensuring the applicant would adhere to the requirements associated with operating a 501(c)(3).
Among the requirements following the certification of an applicant as a 501(c)(3), is the requirement that the group file an annual IRS Form 990 which sets forth income, expenditure, salary, consultant compensation and a host of other details which allow the public, the IRS and the media to assess whether the group is carrying out its obligations in an ethical and legal manner.
Since the Obama Foundation appears never to have applied for 501(c)(3) status and consequently never filed an IRS Form 990, these apparent violations of Federal tax law and regulations constitute grounds for an investigation and the application of sanctions, if appropriate.
Our Complaint asks the IRS to determine the following:
(1) How much money was raised since the Barack H. Obama Foundation began soliciting public donations?
(2) To what bank account(s) were such funds deposited?
(3) How many individuals relied upon the misrepresentations as to the tax-deductibility of donations to the Obama Foundation found on their web page and made improper deductions?
(4) Were the funds collected ever used for charitable purposes or were they diverted to personal use by anyone associated with the Obama Foundation?
(5) If there was such a diversion, was income tax paid by individuals for any such income received by the Obama Foundation through its mail drop operation in Arlington, Virginia?
(6) Were the representations of charitable activities made on the Obama Foundation web site just as false an inducement as the misrepresentations as to the groups 501(c)(3) status.
It is not known to what extent President Obama is approving, or is aware, of his half-brother’s activities. In any case, the IRS must not give special treatment to the Obama Foundation.