The Internal Revenue Service has revoked the nonprofit status for the Institute on the Constitution, Inc. (IOTC), a Pasadena-based nonprofit, co-founded by Michael Anthony Peroutka. The IOTC automatically lost its nonprofit standing on May 15, 2017 for failure to file federal tax returns since filing its Article of Incorporation on August 26, 2014. The status of all past and future tax-deductible donations made to this former federal and state recognized not-for-profit charitable organization are now called into question as a matter of public trust.
The IRS provides an online Exempt Organizations Select Check tool that states, “The federal tax exemption of this organization [IOTC] was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years.” and, that donors “may rely on this list in determining deductibility of their contributions.”
At the time of this writing, Peroutka’s website, www.theamericanview.com, is still soliciting donations as tax-deductible. “There are several ways that you can financially partner with IOTC. All donations are tax-deductible,” The website reads.
A search of the Maryland Charities Database reveals that, in addition to failing to file federal tax returns with the IRS, IOTC never registered as a charitable organization in Maryland. The Maryland Secretary of State says, charity “Registration is required prior to the commencement of solicitations” under the Maryland Solicitations Act, Subtitle 4. Charitable Organizations, § 6-401. Registration required.
Upon further review, IOTC nonprofit mission statement is to “teach, train and promote the U.S. Constitution, The American View of law and government and other lawful activity.” as stated on their Articles of Incorporation. However, IOTC’s website’s mission statement presents a different legal purpose, “to restore our American Founding Fathers’ Biblical, Constitutional, American View of law and government.” And, finally, a third mission statement is listed on their Donations page, “to restore the Biblical, Constitutional American View of law and government.”
It is unknown who is determining IOTC’s mission statement and where in their governance documents is their actual mission stated.
A nonprofit organization’s mission is a legally binding description utilized to establish and determine their nonprofit purpose and status with the State and IRS. According to the Maryland Association of Nonprofits Standards for Excellence, “a mission statement that is a clear and formal statement of the organization’s purpose as defined and approved by the board of directors.” Before a nonprofit organization can change its mission it must do so in accordance with their Bylaws, during a meeting of the Board, voted upon, and recorded in Meeting Minutes – none of these legally binding documents are available for review on IOTC’s website, https://www.theamericanview.com/.
Back to this unregistered charity’s Solicitation of tax-deductible charitable Donations:
Maryland’s Secretary of State has mandatory Disclosure Requirements and Financial Statement Requirements. Specifically, “Under Business Regulation §6-411 of the Maryland Solicitations Act, a charitable organization is required to include on all written solicitations and receipts a disclosure statement. The statement must be conspicuously displayed on the solicitation and receipt.” IOTC’s website Donation page clearly lacks our State’s required disclosure statement that provides potential donors with contact information for financial documents. The State recommends the following Disclosure Statement, “A copy of the current financial statement of [IOTC] is available by writing [address where requests should be directed] or by calling (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Documents and information submitted under the Maryland Solicitations Act are also available, for the cost of postage and copies, from the Maryland Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis MD 21401, (410) 974-5534.”
The IRS provides a toll-free number to verify whether a nonprofit is tax-exempt and in good standing, call (877) 829-5500.
Maryland’s Secretary of State will investigate your concerns about questionable nonprofits. They provide an online reporting tool or you can call (410) 974-5530. Let the State know if you have been contacted by a charity or things don’t sound right to you.
Carmen Skarlupka is a U.S. Navy Veteran and Candidate for House of Delegates District 30B. She lives in Anne Arundel County.
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