The Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group that reportedly inspired accused Charleston shooter and self-avowed racist Dylann Roof to assassinate nine black parishioners during a Bible study, has for 30 years held tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, according to the Center for Public Integrity
On its website, according to the center, the Council of Conservative Citizens
states that its belief system "that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character. … We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind."
The site further explains that "we believe in the traditional family as the basic unit of human society and morality, and we oppose all efforts by the state and other powers to weaken the structure of the American family through toleration of sexual licentiousness, homosexuality and other perversions, mixture of the races, pornography in all forms, and subversion of the authority of parents."
Before his shooting spree inside Charleston’s Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Roof posted a 2,500-word online manifesto decrying the "pages upon pages" of black-on-white murders that he learned about on the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website.
"... At this moment I realized that something was very wrong," wrote Roof.
In a statement, the group’s spokesman, Jared Taylor, maintained that the organization serves to educate the public and is not racist.
"Every year, there are some 20,000 rapes or sexual assaults (including threats) of white women by blacks," according to its website.
Before opening fire, Roof reportedly told his victims that "you rape our women."
Taylor told CNN
that Roof was not a member of the Council and that "what Dylann Roof learned (on its website) were facts, facts that are hard to find because they are essentially taboo in the United States today. So we have absolutely no apology for publishing the facts."
The organization holds 501(c)(4) status and is listed as a nonprofit that promotes social welfare, which means it pays no federal taxes, amounting to a government subsidy, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
"As the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, noted, tax exemptions 'have the same effect as Government payments to favored taxpayers,'" it states.
The Council’s 2013 tax filing reported revenues of $67,000.
While groups can lose their tax-exempt status, a former IRS official who ran the agency’s exempt organizations division in the 1990s told CPI that the recent tea party scandal at the government agency has made it "virtually impossible" to do so.
Republicans have accused the IRS of unfairly targeting conservative organizations, while the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the agency applied "inappropriate criteria" in its scrutiny of certain groups' applications for tax-exempt status, according to the CPI.
Former IRS official Lois Lerner resigned amid the fury and the agency has been under scrutiny ever since the revelations.
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