Harrisburg – January 5, 2017 – In an effort to bar white nationalist groups from gaining tax advantages or financial assistance from the state, state Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) said today that he was authoring legislation to prohibit hate groups from receiving taxpayer funding.
“It is appalling that hate groups have been sanctioned by the federal government as nonprofits,” Williams said. “This should not be tolerated and taxpayers should not foot the bill for tax deductible donations.”
Williams said that he became aware of the issue initially from a report published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In that, and other subsequent reporting, it was disclosed that nearly $8 million in tax deductible donations had been raised in support of groups with white nationalist agendas. The groups received tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 status from the federal Internal Revenue Service.
“The fact that white nationalist groups checked the correct boxes on a government form should not give them the ability to use federal tax-exempt status as a stamp of approval to raise funds that are subsidized by the taxpayers,” Williams said.
The senator said that his measure would prohibit any form of financial assistance from the state that benefits white nationalist, neo-Nazi or other hate groups. Williams’ measure would bar all forms of state grants, loans or other guarantees of money to hate groups.
Under the measure, the hate groups would be ones identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
There are at least four white nationalist groups that enjoy tax-exempt status, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Associated Press.
“Given the support of these groups to the incoming administration, it is highly unlikely that the tax-exempt status would be revoked on the federal level,” Williams said. “That makes state action imperative.”
Williams said that citizens would be outraged if they understood the ways that extremist groups use the federal tax code, and taxpayer dollars, to spread hate and intolerance.