Conservative group asks IRS to investigate American Federation of Teachers
"On its four most recent, publicly available tax returns, the AFT reports that it does not use general treasury revenue to fund political activities."
The conservative Landmark Legal Foundation (LLF) has asked the IRS to audit the second-largest teachers union in the United States for allegedly misreporting its political spending.
In a letter to the IRS, which the Washington Examiner obtained, the group alleges that the American Federation of Teachers inaccurately claimed that it did not "engage in direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office" on their Form 990s from 2016-2019.
The group checked the "no" box on the form all four years, according to the LLF, indicating it had not engaged in political activity.
"On its four most recent, publicly available tax returns, the AFT reports that it does not use general treasury revenue to fund political activities," LLF wrote to the IRS, per the Examiner. "AFT also reports that it made no transfers to any related political organization."
The AFT, however, is a prominent supporter of left-wing political causes and candidates. The LLF pointed to specific events in 2020 during which the union "mobilized the public to vote for identified candidates for public office."
"If AFT is using membership dues to finance political activities, the [IRS] should immediately assess applicable taxes and penalties," LLF wrote. "Moreover, agency fee payers and members should not have to finance political activities that they do not support."
The union told the Examiner that it acknowledges its political activities but does so through the legitimate process, separate from that which it would have to disclose on the Form 990. "AFT conducts its business through the appropriate accounts, including AFT Solidarity 527, and reports its activities extensively," they said to the outlet.