The Internal Revenue Service granted nonprofit status in 2014 to an organization that now sponsors “After School Satan” clubs, two years before they were created.

CLAIM

The IRS gave preferential “fast tracking” for tax exempt status to After School Satan clubs run by the Satanic Temple.

RATING

false

ORIGIN

On 16 March 2017, conservative legal activism group Judicial Watch published a blog post in which they claimed the Internal Revenue Service had favored “After School Satan” secularist clubs by “fast tracking” their tax exempt status:

While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes conservative groups wait years for tax-exempt status an “After School Satan Club” launched to hinder Christian-based counterparts got its nonprofit ranking in just ten days, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. The classification is offered to charitable, religious and educational organizations that operate as nonprofits…

In the meantime, leftist groups like the Satan club got fast tracked. The principle goal of establishing the Satan clubs in public schools throughout Washington State appears to be to counter existing enterprises operated by a Christian-based group.

Although Judicial Watch claims to have obtained documents that prove their claim, the documents they provide do no such thing; they obtained filings for Reason Alliance, a nonprofit organization that sponsors the After School Satan clubs, but the clubs were not created until two years later and do not have their own independent nonprofit status.

Judicial Watch obtained and published an application by Reason Alliance Ltd for tax exempt status which was signed on 21 October 2014. They also published the IRS’s response notifying the group they had been approved for status as a “private foundation” on 31 October 2014. Neither the letter from the IRS or the application make mention of After School Satan clubs or the “fast tracking” of the application.

According to a statement released by the Satanic Temple, an activist group that created the After School Satan program in 2016 to counter a Bible study group in public schools, the clubs were sponsored by Reason Alliance to pay for things like operating costs and insurance:

Satan Clubs are sponsored by the non-profit 501(c)(3), Reason Alliance, Ltd.; however, Reason Alliance earned its tax-exempt status long before ASSC existed and did not, despite claims, receive its exemption in 10 days. Further, nothing in the filings for Reason Alliance make reference to Satan or Satanism. Clearly, any insinuations that “Obama’s IRS” struck a secret alliance with Satanists are nothing more than an absurd fabrication. …

Reason Alliance, Ltd., was formed in 2014 by the founders of The Satanic Temple (TST). The non-profit was set up to encourage reason and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, promote justice, and advocate pragmatic common sense. Reason Alliance also supports activities that advance these core values. When the After School Satan Club was formed in July 2016, Reason Alliance was used to sponsor this program as ASSC operations are consistent with its mission statement. This sponsorship supports The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Club by way of covering the rental fees and liability insurance coverage required by law. The assertion by Judicial Watch and all other news outlets that ASSC is somehow itself a tax exempt entity or operated by Reason Alliance Ltd. has no grounding in reality nor does the documentation they’ve obtained support this claim.

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