FSC Files IRS Complaint Over AHF Ballot Measure Spending

Nov 7, 2016 10:07 AM PST

CANOGA PARK, Calif. — The Free Speech Coalition has filed a formal complaint with the IRS over the tax-exempt status of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the organization said this morning.

The FSC said it lodged the complaint following a report in the LA Weekly that “detailed the nonprofits’ abuse” of its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.
 
Under the leadership of the group’s president, Michael Weinstein, the AHF has spent more than $23 million on measures ranging from antidevelopment initiatives to the adult film initiative Proposition 60, the LA Weekly reported.
 
“Michael Weinstein is using millions of dollars intended for people living with and affected by HIV on dubious political campaigns that benefit his bottom line,” said Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition.

“This is not only a gross violation of IRS limits governing non-profit political spending, it’s an absolute abandonment of his organization’s moral imperative.

“Weinstein is robbing underserved communities that need treatment and education dollars to fuel anti-science moral crusades. We’re asking the IRS to immediately begin an investigation.”
 
AHF is currently being sued in Florida over an alleged $20 million in Medicare fraud, and has previously been sued for overbilling Los Angeles County by $5.2 million.
 
Several of the new violations could cost AHF its tax-exempt status, the FSC said.
 
Among the alleged violations included in the FSC complaint submitted to the IRS:

  • AHF has spent more than $19.7 million on political campaigns in 2016. IRS limits an organization of AHF’s size to $1 million per tax-year on political campaigns;
  • AHF has spent well over the $6 million allowed for a 501(c)(3) over the four-year period 2012-2015;
  • AHF dramatically underreported spending on Measure B in 2012 to the IRS. While AHF reported spending $2.3 million on the Measure B campaign alone to the California Secretary of State, but only reported $1.6 million in total political spending to the IRS that same year; and,
  • AHF has engaged in direct political attacks on political opponents, including multiple mailers targeting state Senate candidate Scott Wiener, violating the Internal Revenue Service’s clear restriction on political campaigning.

“Michael Weinstein’s out of control political spending is putting his organization's non-profit status at risk,” Leue said. “We also have reason to believe they are misusing federal 340B funding intended for uncompensated care to help finance political campaigns and for-profit business development.”

Prop 60, an initiative on the November ballot in California, would allow private citizens, including Weinstein, to file lawsuits against adult performers for not using condoms and collect 25 percent of any fine assessed on each successful prosecution.

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