New reporting from The New York Times today exposed the inner workings of the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), the far-right MAGA group led by Mark Meadows, revealing serious potential abuses of its nonprofit status. The findings, including a shady arrangement which may allow CPI to bypass typical nonprofit regulations to engage in political activity and service primarily Republicans, led watchdog Campaign for Accountability to file an IRS complaint based on Accountable.US research. The complaint also alleges that by paying excessive compensation to certain officers and key executives, CPI appears to have violated the prohibition on private inurement.

The Conservative Partnership Institute is the latest example of classic MAGA grift. Led by a cast of election deniers and extremists like Mark Meadows, CPI apparently believes it exists above the law as it operates a shady network of groups, seemingly to get around clear nonprofit restrictions. CPI and its leaders must be held accountable."

Accountable.US president Caroline Ciccone

Accountable.US research uncovered an unusual arrangement where Conservative Partnership Institute closely controls multiple for-profit entities working for political candidates, including the Trump campaign. As a 501(c)(3), CPI is strictly barred from engaging in electoral work. By controlling these for-profits, CPI may be engaging in activities that would normally be legally prohibited.

The new complaint urges the IRS to investigate the Conservative Partnership Institute on the basis that the organization may have provided substantial resources to one of these for-profit entities, Compass Legal Group, a purported law firm that offers services exclusively or primarily to Republicans. Further, the complaint alleges that CPI may have violated the private benefit doctrine by operating primarily to serve the private interests of Republican members of Congress, their staff, and other partisan organizations. CPI also appears to have failed to disclose its direct and indirect lobbying and political campaign activity and may have violated the prohibition on private inurement through excessive compensation.

As the complaint states, “the activities of [the Conservative Partnership Institute] and [Compass Law Group] appear particularly egregious because CLG specifically holds itself out as a law firm that advises public officials, candidates, nonprofit organizations and others regarding campaign finance, government ethics, and nonprofit tax and governance. It is appalling for such an entity, specializing in helping others comply with the law and staffed with experienced attorneys familiar with the limits of permissible activity, to appear to participate in a scheme to push the envelope on political campaign activity by an affiliate of a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization beyond the breaking point.”

“You look at all these phony front groups, and the sinecures they’ve provided to disgraced Trump loyalists like Mark Meadows and Jeffrey Clark, and when you put it all together, it looks more like a sneaky political operation than an honest nonprofit,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democratic chairman of the Finance Taxation and I.R.S. Oversight Subcommittee. As the Times story notes, Sen. Whitehouse previously sent a four-page letter to CPI requesting details but has not received a reply.

Accountable.US’s Monitoring Influence database connects the dots between the Conservative Partnership Institute and other groups making up the far-right dark money network. Learn more at



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