Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Worldview Weekend Foundation

Yesterday CNN reported on the Worldview Weekend Foundation.

The WVW Foundation is (or, rather, was) a 501(c)(3) organization meant to support Worldview Weekend Broadcast Network, which appears to be a radio/streaming network dedicated to conspiracy theories regarding, among other things, the 2020 election (with respect they've partnered with the MyPillow guy) and vaccines.

In its 2017 990, WVWF claimed exemption as a publicly-supported "religious, educational, and charitable" organization. But its exemption was automatically revoked seven months ago for failure to file a return for three straight years.

Notwithstanding its revocation, CNN reported that the organization was still soliciting tax-deductible contributions on a form at the bottom of every page. And, while it is trying to retroactively reinstate its exemption, the general consensus is that its using tax-exempt status that it doesn't have is wrong, and potentially sanctionable by state attorneys general.

Interestingly enough, though, as of this writing (2:00 pm Central on Jan. 11), the website seems to have stripped its donation form from its webpage. (CNN reported that the donation and tax-deduction language was at the bottom of every page.) I can't find a link to donate (though I admit that I'm not interested in spending any substantive amount of time on the website). There is still a vestigial reminder of its former exempt status on its "Foundation" page, but I suspect that was an inadvertent oversight because, even there, while it mentions the Foundation's need for donations, it doesn't provide a link to any kind of donation page.

Screenshot 2022-01-11 140516

I assume that WVW Broadcast Network (mostly) eliminated references to tax deductibility because of the CNN story. And if that's right, it suggests an interesting idea about enforcement of tax exemption rules: even though the IRS and state attorneys general underenforce the rules governing tax-exempt organizations, public watchdogs and journalism may help (at least to an extent) backstop the enforcement.

 

Samuel D. Brunson

 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2022/01/worldview-weekend-foundation.html

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