8 Months In IRS Limbo, Conservative Group Receives Fast Approval After Changing Name To "Greenhouse Solutions"
In May 2011, Drew Ryun, a conservative activist and former Republican National Committee staffer, began filling out the Internal Revenue Service application to achieve nonprofit status for a new conservative watchdog group. He submitted the paperwork to the IRS in July 2011 for a research site called Media Trackers, which calls itself a "non-partisan investigative watchdog dedicated to promoting accountability in the media and government." Although the site has investigated Republicans like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the site's organizers are unapologetically conservative. "One thing we don't hide is: 'Yeah, we're conservative—free-market, free-enterprise, full-spectrum conservative,'" Ryun told Mother Jones magazine last year. Eight months passed without word from the agency about the group's application, Ryun said. In February 2012, Ryun's attorney contacted the IRS to ask if it needed more information to secure its nonprofit status as a 501(c)3 organization. According to Ryun, the IRS told him that the application was being processed by the agency's office in Cincinnati, Ohio—the same one currently facing scrutiny for targeting conservative groups—and to check back in two months. As directed, Ryun followed up with the IRS in April 2012, and was told that Media Trackers' application was still under review. When September 2012 arrived with still no word from the IRS, Ryun determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status, and he tried a new approach: He applied for permanent nonprofit status for a separate group called Greenhouse Solutions, a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period. The IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions' request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks.Read more.
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