Now, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long has stepped into the fray, doing his best to make sure one of his biggest contributors is never bothered again.
Long and five of his colleagues, four from Missouri, Republicans Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Sam Graves, and Jo Ann Emerson, and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, signed a letter to the Inspector General asking that the Humane Society of the United States lose its tax exempt status.
The six representatives claim the Humane Society is spending much of its money on lobbying.and political activities, including contributing $2.1 million of the $4.8 million that went into the organization promoting passage of Proposition B.
FEC documents indicate Billy Long has received $4,800 from Andrew Hunte, president of The Hunte Company, Goodman, a puppy mill operation. The money has come in the form of identical $800 contributions on Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Nov. 2, Feb. 7, March 4, and March 31.
The letter to Inspector General Eric Thorson begins in this fashion:
We write concerning the tax exempt status of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) tax identification number 53-0225390. Over the past two years, this organization has conducted substantial political activities within Missouri that brought into question its tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) status. In a letter dated March 23, 2010, attached as Exhibit A, Congressman Luetkemeyer notified IRS Commissioner Shulman of the organization's potential violation of the tax exemption laws. On May 12, 2010, Congressman Luetkemeyer followed up with a letter to Ms. Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations, attached as Exhibit B, yet to our knowledge, no remedial action was taken against HSUS.The letter notes the Humane Society's blog posts favoring or opposing legislation and its drive to put Proposition B on the state ballot.
We believe that HSUS's own public documents show beyond question that lobbying is a "substantial part" of its activities, and feel that IRS's failure to act is attributable to the politically sensitive nature of HSUS's activities. Due to this, we write to request investigations into HSUS's apparent improper activities and its tax-exempt status.
"No group should be allowed to maintain tax-exempt status due solely to its political leanings or power," the letter says.