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  • Vet Group Which Hosted Trump Speech Had Its Nonprofit Status Revoked By The IRS

    Veterans for a Strong America, a nonprofit veterans organization, which just hosted a speech by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on board a battleship Tuesday, has had its charitable status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service.

    The reason? The IRS said Aug. 10 in a letter that the group hadn’t filed tax returns for three years in a row. The move prompted the group chairman, Joel Arends, to file an appeal. Arends says he disagrees with the IRS’ decision, The Associated Press reports.

    But aside from legal troubles plaguing the nonprofit group, the fundraiser itself may cause some amount of mischief for the Trump campaign. Campaign finance law states that corporations can only donate up to $2,700 to a campaign, but clearly, since tickets sold for $1,000 a pop and 850 people attended the event, the amount seems to have exceeded the legal limit. But the group did note that contributions would support the organization and help pay for event costs.

    Additionally, campaigns are not supposed to coordinate activities with outside groups.

    But Trump’s campaign balked at any questions of legality.

    “The FEC has ruled that a candidate may attend, speak at, and be a featured guest at such events,” the Trump campaign said in a statement to the AP.

    Arends also said that his group is allowed to endorse the candidate, following the Citizens United campaign finance case before the Supreme Court.

    Other veterans’ advocates are questioning whether Veterans for a Strong America is anything more than a shell organization.

    Paul Rieckhoff, head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, tweeted some critical comments about the group and the meaningfulness of its endorsement of Trump.

    “Just learned Trump did an event today announcing he’s been endorsed by a vets group that nobody’s ever heard of. w/out a real vets platform,” Rieckhoff said. “Are they a 501c3/c19? Have they ever testified on the hill? Do they have any real programs? What have they done? These are questions to ask,” he added.

    MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said that Federal Election Commission filings for the group indicate that it only has $30 in cash and $318 in debt. Arends is the only founding member of the organization.

    “I’m sure that in that moment, Donald Trump was very grateful to have that statement of support from this group,” Maddow said Tuesday. “But Veterans For A Strong America really does appear to be just one guy.”

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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