U.S. Chamber Accused of Tax Fraud By Transparency Advocates

Oct 15, 2010, 13:25 ET from U.S. Chamber Watch

Amid Ongoing Scandal over Foreign Contributions, U.S. Chamber Watch Files Amended IRS Complaint Highlighting New Violations

Chamber May Have Misused More than $18 Million in Charitable Funds, Violated Compensation Laws with Donohue's Multi-million Dollar Salary

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amid the mounting scandal concerning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's foreign fundraising practices, four non-profit advocacy organizations have filed an amended complaint alleging that the U.S. Chamber may have intentionally attempted to conceal a series of transactions funneling over $18 million meant for charitable purposes from the AIG-affiliated Starr Foundation to the U.S. Chamber for use in its political advocacy.

Amending a complaint filed with the I.R.S. in September by U.S. Chamber Watch, the 23-page amended complaint raised the seriousness of the allegations based on recent research and statements from U.S. Chamber staff indicating that the U.S. Chamber and its affiliated charity, the National Chamber Foundation, may have intentionally – even willfully – misreported the transactions on its tax forms. U.S. Chamber Watch was joined in the filing of the amended complaint by Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington, the Main Street Alliance, and Corporate Ethics International.

"The US Chamber fights disclosure with every penny of their $200 million warchest — and every time we get a little sunlight into their activities, we understand why. The Chamber's response to these latest allegations shows a seemingly pathological need to stonewall, deflect and obscure from the fact that they're engaging in likely illegal activity under the good name of American small business," said Christy Setzer, spokeswoman for U.S. Chamber Watch.

The Amended Complaint also raised concerns regarding the egregious levels of compensation and extravagant perks paid to U.S. Chamber president and CEO Thomas Donohue, a potential violation of tax laws prohibiting use of non-profit funds for the private benefit of insiders. Mr. Donohue was paid over $3.75 million in 2008, the last year for which tax returns are available, on top of lavish retirement benefits and other perks – some of which apparently not disclosed to the IRS – including use of a personal jet valued at over $1 million per year and a chauffeured limousine.

A copy of the complaint can be found here: http://www.fixtheuschamber.org/what-chamber/breaking-new-revelations-us-chamber-and-aig-foundations-multimillion-dollar-tax-fraud.

For more information on U.S. Chamber Watch, please visit www.fixtheuschamber.com.

SOURCE U.S. Chamber Watch