Charity For Troops Also Funds Tea Party Consultants: ProPublica

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War veterans salute as flag bearers walk past during a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, on Nov. 11, 2011.

Move America Forward is a charity that has raised millions of dollars over the years in the name of supporting U.S. troops with care packages. At the same time, the organization has been funding a group of Tea Party political consultants, in potential violation of US tax law, according to a ProPublica investigation co-published with The Daily Beast.

Political consultant Sal Russo, who runs the firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates out of Sacramento, is listed on tax returns as the charity’s “chief strategist.” He is also considered the “leading architect” of the Tea Party Express, one of the largest political action committees that supports the Tea Party, ProPublica reported.

ProPublica said that Move American Forward has paid more than $2.3 million to Russo or his consultancy – and given rules that prohibit tax-exempt charities from supporting political campaigns, the organization’s practices could raise alarms with the IRS.

“They’re playing audit roulette,” attorney Marcus Owen, a former IRS official, told ProPublica.

Russo didn’t comment for the story, in which reporter Kim Barker also details a host misleading fundraising claims – including the appropriation of photos taken from other charities and the Web site Pinterest. Meanwhile politicians and celebs, including Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Hulk Hogan, have taped appeals in the past for Move America Forward's annual Troopathon fundraiser, the report said. 

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