A Californian man charged with joining rebels in a riot at the U.S. Capitol told the IRS last year to defend “human rights and citizenship” and educate the public about vaccines in the American Phoenix Project. He said he had set up a charity called. Instead, Alan Hostetter uses his tax-exempt nonprofit as a platform
A Californian man charged with joining rebels in a riot at the U.S. Capitol told the IRS last year to defend “human rights and citizenship” and educate the public about vaccines in the American Phoenix Project. He said he had set up a charity called.
Instead, Alan Hostetter uses his tax-exempt nonprofit as a platform to oppose the blockade restrictions on COVID-19, protesting that the 2020 elections were stolen by former President Donald Trump. Advocated violence against political opponents. US Department of Justice. He has already been charged with a plot to suspend President Joe Biden’s accreditation, but the hostetter may also have violated the IRS rules governing tax-exempt nonprofits and his serious legal affairs. It can exacerbate the problem.
The IRS prohibits charities such as hostetters from participating in campaigns in favor of or against political candidates. In a May 2020 application for tax exemption status to the IRS, the hostetter wrote that the American Phoenix project was not directly or indirectly involved in political movements.
But when the American Phoenix project hosted a “Stop the Steal” rally in Huntington Beach, California in December, the hostetter made a speech calling for “calculations” and Trump said he had to swear for the second term. ..
“The sentence must be long, but the execution is just a punishment for the mastermind of the coup,” said Hostetter, according to a June 9 indictment.
As of Wednesday, the IRS has listed the American Phoenix Project as a tax-exempt organization. It is also registered with California regulators to operate as a charity.
Hostetter’s lawyer, Bilal Essayli, accused the Justice Department’s prosecutor of pushing for a “false story,” including allegations of clients using charities. Hostettler has not been charged with politically motivated threats or misuse of nonprofits, he said.
“They throw a really inflammatory rhetoric that they don’t have to prove in court,” Essayli said.
However, a tax expert who considered the indictment associated the use of a taxpayer-funded American Phoenix project, including a message posted by the hostetter to a nonprofit Instagram account, on January 6, when he was charged. He states that it seems to be linked to crime.
Samuel Branson, a tax law professor at Loyola University in Chicago, said:
An IRS spokesperson said privacy law prohibits government agencies from commenting on individual organizations. A spokesperson for the office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta does not say whether the charity trust section has received or investigated complaints about the American Phoenix project.
“To protect its integrity, we cannot discuss potential or ongoing investigations,” a spokesman wrote in an email.
The FBI has linked dozens of people charged with the January 6 Capitol riots to a far-right radical group. The Hostetter organization may be the only organization authorized by the federal government to accept tax-deductible donations.
And the American Phoenix Project may not be the only tax-exempt group to challenge the 2020 election results: Protecting the Republic formed by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell is itself a non-profit organization. Organizations that are not on the IRS tax exemption list.
San Clemente’s hostetter, 56, was arrested on June 10 with five other men from California on suspicion of colluding to prevent Congress from proving victory in Biden’s elections. .. The indictment links four of his co-defendants to the Sleeper Center, the wing of the militia movement.
Another co-defendant, Russell Taylor, joined the board of directors of the American Phoenix Project last year, according to prosecutors. According to the indictment, on the eve of the Capitol riot, Taylor spoke at a Trump-supporting rally in front of the US Supreme Court as part of a panel of speakers for the Phoenix project in the United States.
According to the indictment, “We are free Americans, and on these streets we fight and bleed before allowing our freedom to be deprived of us,” Taylor said. ..
In a video posted on his organization’s YouTube channel less than a month after the election, the hostetter said that Trump’s vote was “switched” to Biden and “some of the highest level people were executed. Execution or a couple of times, “said the indictment.
Three days before the riot, the hostetter posted a message on the American Phoenix Project’s Instagram account about the upcoming “battle.”
“In the next few days, things will come to mind in the United States. Stay tuned!” He wrote.
After the riot, the hostetter posted a photo of the riot in the same account as himself and Taylor. He called it the “2021 edition of 1776,” the indictment said.
“The war lasted eight years, and it’s just the beginning,” he writes.
Branson said revoking the tax exemption for the American Phoenix project would be a “clear and easy decision” if the IRS was found to have used its assets for illegal purposes. Whether the group violated the IRS ban on political movements is closer to Branson’s judgment, as the indictment accuses the hostetter of using it to support Trump after losing the election. It is a call.
“At some point, Trump is no longer a candidate for the office,” Branson said. “It’s an easier case to say that they’re acting illegally based on the indictment. It’s not going to be very controversial. It’s not that difficult.”
Essali accused the prosecutor of trying to punish the hostetter for expressing his “strong political view” in free speech protected by the First Amendment.
“They have one story, public rhetoric, and what they actually bring to court is quite different,” said the defense lawyer.
In a report submitted to the Internal Revenue Service and the Attorney General’s Office of California, the American Phoenix Project said it received a donation of $ 10,317 in 2020, spending a total of $ 53,342. -19 limit.
More than 480 people have been charged with federal crimes related to riots. The proceedings against the hostetter and his co-defendant have just begun, but federal prosecutors have begun to secure plea bargaining with some mobs. Authorities have filed similar plots against members and associates of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys militant groups.
Parliamentary mobs used charities to promote violence, the federal government says
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