A few months ago, Bill Glahn did an excellent series of posts about the way progressives in Minnesota use charitable organizations to move and hide their money. Apparently they learned how to do it from the Minnesota Democrat Farmer Laborer party, which uses a shell charity to own its party headquarters.
According to the Ramsey County tax data website, the property at 255 East Plato Blvd, St Paul Minnesota isn't owned by the DFL party. It is owned by a separate entity called the DFL Party Building Fund, Inc. What is that, you ask? It is a tax exempt charitable organization, officially classified as a 'civic league'.
That's right, the DFL runs a charity which does nothing other than own and manage it's building and collect rent from DFL party groups.
Here is the property in question;
A convenient location that puts DFL HQ right across the river from the Capital.
Because the DFL Party Building Fund is set up as a tax exempt charitable organization, it is required to file form 990 with the IRS every year, a wealth of information. I'm not an accountant or a lawyer to be able to translate all of what is included, but the fact that DFL Party Building Fund appears to be collecting less in rent every year than the cost of maintaining the building looks pretty suspicious. Additionally, the fact that both the DFL House and Senate Caucuses paid rent to the Building Fund in 2012 ($18k each) raises the question of how closely they work with (or are controlled by) the state DFL. The party that bills itself as grassroots activists instead appears to be the most top down organization ever created.
With the number of public information sources available to confirm the shell charity, it seems strange that DFL Chair Ken Martin would try to deny this arrangement, but this weekend he did just that;
I guess Mr Martin doesn't want anyone to know that his party HQ is owned by a shell charity that takes advantage of those evil 'loopholes' in the tax code that his party is so dead set against. But he did want one group of people to know-members of the DFL state central committee who asked about the HQ at their January 2012 meeting. None other than Ken Martin explained;
DFL HQ is either owned by the party, or by a separate entity; Chairman Martin can't have it both ways."By the way, the Party‘s headquarters is owned by the DFL Building Fund, a legally separate entity from the Party itself"
But what is certain is that every time you hear a DFL'er complain about 'tax loopholes' that need to be closed so everyone will pay their fair share, tell that DFL'er that they can go first and stop hiding their HQ behind a phony charity.