CORRECTION: Blueprint does not coordinate activities for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence as this post originally noted. The coalition is a nonpartisan, non political organization.
The North Carolina Republican Party has filed two complaints against Blueprint North Carolina, a nonprofit that distributes information and coordinates activities for a variety of nonprofits in the state.
The GOP wants the State Board of Elections and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate Blueprint for political activity that the party says is “well outside the boundaries of a charitable organization with privileged tax status.”
The GOP is referring to memos leaked to the press last week, and first reported by the Charlotte Observer.
One includes polling data and lays out messaging points on education and taxes; the other is a three-page draft of legislative strategy that calls for aggressive attacks against GOP legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory.
Blueprint’s executive director Sean Kosofsky acknowledged in the Charlotte story last week that his group distributed the polling memo to the organizations it works with.
But Kosofsky denies the group was behind the strategy memo.
“Blueprint NC continues to be the victim of a deliberate disinformation campaign by political operatives seeking to silence our free speech rights around important issues facing North Carolina,” Kosofsky said in a statement on Monday.
"Blueprint NC did not author the memo and did nothing to violate its 501c3 status. Should an investigation or lawsuit be pursued in an attempt to silence or intimidate us, we will defend our right to free speech.”
It is not unusual for groups on both sides of the political spectrum to provide strategy and research or to lay out agendas that can end up tracking what politicians do. But a nonprofit organized as a 501c3 is prohibited under federal tax law from engaging in partisan political activity.
In its complaint to the IRS, the GOP claims that the memo and statements by Blueprint NC executives “demonstrate that the organization is an arm of the Democratic party that has actively engaged in partisan political activities to further the goal of its preferred political party and political candidates.”
In calling for the investigation, GOP chairman Robin Hayes said: “It is imperative that the public finds out if any laws were broken and who exactly was involved in this plan to ‘eviscerate’ our elected leaders.”
Last year, the GOP sent a complaint to the IRS alleging that five nonprofits including Democracy North Carolina and the NC Justice Center advocated for political candidates in violation of federal law.