Lights Out for the Brady Campaign and Hillary Clinton

I broke the back of the anti-Second Amendment Million Mom March in 2000 by exposing its use of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt money to endorse House candidates on its Apple Pie Award web pages.  The organization crumpled up when columnist J.R. Labbe published the information I sent her and was later found to have filed a highly creative Form 990 tax return in which the organization told the IRS that it had spent no money to influence legislation.  The organization liquidated in 2001, and the current Million Mom March is not the same corporate entity.

I also noted in an American Thinker piece:

We also need to ask Ms. Clinton publicly and frequently how much 501(c)(3) tax exempt money she plans to divert to her campaign next year the way she helped the Million Mom March divert 501(c)(3) funds to Al Gore's campaign as well as those of Democratic House candidates in 2000.

I discovered today (after an online argument with some gun control supporters) that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence was actually stupid enough to do this, and that Hillary Clinton welcomed the diversion of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt resources to her presidential campaign:

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence will endorse Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday in Iowa, the former secretary of state's campaign announced.


I was doing a Google search on the Brady Campaign to see if it had had other “issues” with tax exempt money, and found

which says it's actually two different organizations.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3). Donations are tax deductible, so no lobbying.

OTOH The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is a 501(c)(4). Not tax-deductible.

This is NOT, however, evident from the Web pages that endorse political candidates.

The one on the left takes you to which says “Thank you for your donation to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, our 501(c)(3) *Donations to the Brady Center ARE eligible for tax deduction.”

So I think it is fair to say that they are responsible for any confusion here. In fact, their page for the “Brady Center” has the logo of the “Brady Campaign” on it. However, I don’t want to tell people that the 501(c)(3) entity is misusing tax exempt money if this is not the case regardless of the responsibility for the confusion.


Even if the Brady Campaign is 501(c)(4) and the Brady Center is 501(c)(3), the propriety of the manner in which they present their information is highly questionable.

The Brady Center is not hosted on a separate Web domain and, in fact,

“All information © 2016 Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence”

and in fact is copyrighted not by the 501(c)(3) Brady Center, but by the 501(c)(4) Brady Campaign. (The same goes for the other Brady Center Web pages.)


The Republican Party and NRA need to immediately call out Ms. Clinton by pointing out Brady's tax-exempt status and asking whether she will therefore reject the group's endorsement.  This, of course, requires her to (1) embarrass herself and the entire anti-Second Amendment movement by admitting that Brady is diverting tax-exempt money to an election or (2) make herself a party to the illegal use of tax-exempt money.  Either choice is probably the end of the road for her because of the importance of gun control to her campaign.

This is far from Brady's only diversion of its tax-exempt resources into political campaigns, as shown by the list below.  These links are all on the Brady Campaign's own website and cannot therefore be dismissed as fabrications or internet rumors.  Those who cannot learn from their own history are doomed to repeat it, and this should be the end of the line for the Brady Campaign itself rather than just the Million Mom March.

  • Brady Campaign Endorses Brad Schneider in Illinois 10th Congressional Bid
  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Endorses Congressman Ed Markey for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts Special Election
  • Brady Campaign, Chapters Endorse Chuck Riley for Oregon State Senate
  • Brady Campaign, Chapters Endorse N.Y. Sen. Mark Grisanti for Re-Election
  • Brady Campaign Endorses Lt. Governor Brown for Maryland Governor

I have already filed a Form 13909 complaint with the Internal Revenue Service based on "Election Year Issues" by Judith E. Kindell and John Francis Reilly.  This IRS publication says very plainly:

An organization will not qualify for tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3) unless it "does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." A determination. whether an organization has participated or intervened is based upon all of the relevant facts and circumstances.

Avoid Political Campaign Intervention (directly from the IRS) adds:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state, and local level. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

Res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself.  The Brady Campaign has placed itself on record as advocating the election of no fewer than five candidates for major offices on its official website while claiming 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and Hillary Clinton is apparently quite comfortable with its support for her campaign.

On another note, a search on the IRS's Exempt Organizations Select Check for "Brady" shows that the tax exemptions of literally dozens of local chapters have been revoked for the following reason:

The federal tax exemption of this organization was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years. The information listed below for each organization is historical; it is current as of the organization's effective date of automatic revocation. The information is not necessarily current as of today's date. Nor does this automatic revocation necessarily reflect the organization's tax-exempt or non-exempt status. The organization may have applied to the IRS for recognition of exemption and been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt after its effective date of automatic revocation.

This should underscore to the rank and file of the gun control movement the blatant dishonesty of the so-called leaders who are asking for their votes (on 501[c][3] tax-exempt money), donations, and/or volunteer time.  The side that is right does not need to lie, or to play fast and loose with tax-exempt charitable donations.

William A. Levinson, P.E. is the author of several books on business management, including an annotated edition of Henry Ford's My Life and Work, as well as manufacturing productivity and quality.

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