The Odd Tax Returns of Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation

A little birdie just suggested to me that the (communist) Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), founded by radical left-wing activist Saul Alinsky whose writings were an inspiration to both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, has some rather interesting tax returns.

Take a look at line 81a on IRS Form 990 (the tax return that nonprofits are required to file with the IRS). Line 81a asks nonprofits to “Enter the amount of political expenditures, direct or indirect, as described in the instructions.”

Here are the answers that the IAF provided on line 81a on a series of tax returns (links to PDF files of the corresponding 990s are below):

2001: $0

2000: $0

1999: $0

1998: [left blank — no answer]

1997: [left blank — no answer]

It is apparently an offense to fail to disclose pertinent information on an IRS Form 990. An incomplete form violation can result in a fine of up to $50,000, the source who has been studying IAF for years says. (This legal report confirms that fines can be steep.)

Why would the IAF leave the line blank in the returns for tax years 1997 and 1998?

Is our source correct in saying something unusual is going on? We’re going to try and find out. It may turn out that IAF has done nothing wrong apart from not filling out its 990s completely.

But how difficult is it to write a zero in on one line of a form?

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