Webb asks IRS to investigate U.S. Navy Veterans Association
U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D) is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the legitimacy of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a charity under scrutiny in three states.
Webb, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Personnel, sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman Friday.
Webb notes that the organization filed a tax return for their Virginia chapter claiming that it provided services to 2,204,405 Virginia residents in 2009, but "there is little evidence of services being provided on such a vast scale."
"I know you share my concern that we should minimize the opportunity for unscrupulous organizations to mislead or exploit our nation's veterans,'' Webb wrote. "Therefore I would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations, and statutes."
Following a six-month investigation, the St. Petersburg Times was able to locate only one of the group's 85 state and national directors and officers -- Bobby Thompson of Tampa.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and House Speaker Bill Howell (R) said they were donating campaign contributions they received from Thompson to established veterans charities. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who received more than $55,000 from Thompson, has not followed suit. Cuccinelli political director Noah Wall has said the attorney general will donate Thompson's contributions if he is convicted of a crime related to misappropriating charity funds.
Read Webb's full letter below:
May 28, 2010
Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20224
Dear Commissioner Shulman:
I am concerned about a 501(c)(19) organization allegedly providing services to veterans in Virginia. According to recent press accounts, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA), otherwise known as "U.S. Navy Vets," is under investigation in at least three states for its legitimacy, fundraising activities, and expenditures on behalf of veterans.
As the enclosed St. Petersburg Times article notes, the USNVA filed a tax return for their Virginia chapter claiming that the group provided services to 2,204,405 Virginia residents in 2009. However, there is little evidence of services being provided on such a vast scale.
In addition to questions regarding USNVA's services to our veterans, investigators have been unable to locate individuals who purportedly serve on USNVA's various boards of directors because addresses and other legally required information have not been accurately documented in the organization's tax filings.
Despite these alarming reports, tax records indicate that the USNVA has solicited millions of dollars from Virginians and residents of other states for its programs.
I know you share my concern that we should minimize the opportunity for unscrupulous organizations to mislead or exploit our nation's veterans. Therefore I would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations, and statutes. I would also appreciate your furnishing me with a report of your findings.
May 28, 2010; 6:15 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , James Webb , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell
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