Friday, April 28, 2017

What is the "Virginia Freedom Caucus"?

What is the “Virginia Freedom Caucus”?

Do you ever sit back and watch events around you and think to yourself, from where did this all originate?  No, I’m not talking in the existential, metaphysical sense, simply in the microcosm of things and stuff we are exposed to in our daily lives.  Well, I’m inquisitive by nature, so I do it all the time.  Being inquisitive by nature, I want to seek answers to my questions.  Enter: The Virginia Freedom Caucus.

Have you heard of the Virginia Freedom Caucus or VFC?  It seems to be more active on Facebook than anywhere else, operating a closed group, whose members frequently post blogs (such as this one, before I was banned by the moderator), articles, questions, polls, endorsements of candidates, etc.  It is a decidedly conservative group with sometimes unreasonable people dubbing fellow conservatives “cuckservatives” or “liberals” for disagreeing with them.  The VFC has been in operation less than 1 year.

But who is behind the VFC?  The VFC is not a PAC and I can find nowhere they have made political contributions as an entity.  A quick check of their website domain address reveals nothing as it is concealed.  However, the website makes several claims, including that they are a 501(c)(4) not for profit organization.  All such organizations need to be registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and the IRS.  Here is what is revealed when the registration for the VFC is researched on the SCC website”

As mentioned in a previous article on this blog, Ms. Woods is a conservative activist and staffer for would-be gubernatorial candidate, Corey Stewart.  That fact is validated by VPAP:

The VFC website also openly solicits for monetary donations.  For your convenience, they accept checks, but they state the donations are NOT tax deductible.  Curious…

The address listed in Fredericksburg is the United States Postal Service local branch. 
So what does the VFC do with your donations?  Good question!  According to the IRS (and yes, I know we all loathe the IRS, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist), the parameters for operating a tax-exempt, not-for-profit 501(c)(4) or “social welfare organization” are as follows (highlighted portions are important):

So let’s summarize:  The VFC is a corporation owned by a documented paid staffer for Corey Stewart.  According to the IRS, the VFC cannot directly or indirectly be involved on behalf of or in opposition of any candidate for office.  Ms. Woods owns the VFC, which openly supports Corey Stewart on the VFC web page, Facebook page and other online outlets.  Here are 5 examples in just the first 3 pages of the VFC blog page:

For the record, there don’t appear to be any articles in support of either Ed Gillespie or Frank Wagner for Governor, nor are there any articles supporting Bryce Reeves or Glenn Davis (or any Democrats) for Lieutenant Governor, but there are articles endorsing Jill Vogel.  It would seem the very one-sided support of the VFC is in violation of the IRS guidelines for such organizations.

Furthermore, several contributors, including myself, have been banned from the VFC Facebook page by the moderator(s), of which Ms. Woods is one.  The reason for these bans?  We routinely speak out about our disdain for her boss, Corey Stewart.  That is also a clear violation of the IRS guidelines for social welfare organizations.  Mind you, I don’t care that I’ve been banned.  I just think it’s interesting to note that it's not just disagreeing opinions, there's actually a violation of the law on the part of the VFC page moderator.

So if you choose to donate to the VFC, where does your money go?  The somewhat hidden “Disclaimers” page on the VFC website states, in part, the following:

Again, they would appear to be in clear violation of IRS regulations for such entities.  Furthermore, if the owner of the VFC is a paid Stewart staffer, doesn't that mean she in fact is receiving a financial contribution?

More questions for the VFC:
  • Who is on the VFC Board of Directors and how is the Board elected or appointed?
  • Who manages the money/donations made to the VFC and where that money is expended?
  • Who decides which candidate(s) the VFC endorses or supports?
  • Does Waverly Woods use VFC donations to support the candidates she chooses are worthy of that support?
  • Does Ms. Woods receive payment from the Stewart campaign directly related to her affiliation with the Virginia Freedom Caucus?

Some people affiliated (and not affiliated) with the VFC like to dub certain candidates with whom they do not agree “squishy”.  Well, I dub the VFC “squishy”.  It appears to function in violation of the IRS guidelines for social welfare organizations and I can find no documentation of accountability in funds or decision making, and they pay no taxes on any of the donations they receive.  To be honest, this whole thing sounds like a money-making scheme to me… and it stinks. 

As a final note, if you’d like to complain to the IRS about the Virginia Freedom Caucus’ clear violations of the tax code, you may use this link


UPDATE: As I generally appreciate it when a solution is proposed along with a problem (or in this case an answer posed with regard to many questions), I would be remiss if I didn't point out that there are actually legitimate members of the Freedom Caucus in Virginia.  They would likely appreciate your donation and it would go directly toward furthering the goals of the Freedom Caucus, instead of whatever agenda the business entity cited in this article may choose.  
Here are the contact and donation addresses for each of the Freedom Caucus members in Virginia:

Tom Garrett for Congress (VA-5)
P.O. Box 209
Ruckersville, VA  22968

Friends of Dave Brat, Inc. (VA-7)
P.O. Box 5094
Glen Allen, VA 23058-5094

Morgan Griffith for Congress (VA-9)
P.O. Box 361
Christiansburg, VA  24068

And even if you don't live in the 5th, 7th or 9th districts, I'm sure each of these members would appreciate a donation in support of their efforts.  And no, I don't work for any one of these campaigns. :)

Cheers again!

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