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Attorney says Washington nonprofit’s complaints are part of ‘smear’ campaign

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Terre Haute conservative attorney James Bopp Jr. says that an IRS whistleblower suit and other complaints alleging Bopp has diverted funds from the nonprofit James Madison Center for Free Speech to his law firm are part of a “smear machine” by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announced Tuesday that its executive director Melanie Sloan has filed a whistleblower suit with the IRS against Bopp Jr., his law firm and the James Madison Center for Free Speech. Sloan alleges that Bopp has misrepresented the activities of the James Madison Center to divert nearly all of its money into the Bopp Law Firm.

The nonprofit JMCFS, based in Terre Haute, supports litigation and public education to defend the rights of political expression and association by citizens guaranteed under the First Amendment, according to the group’s mission statement. Bopp serves as the nonprofit’s general counsel.

The Bopp Law Firm helps clients with PAC law, campaign finance, election law, First Amendment and constitutional law matters.

The complaint filed with the IRS claims that in the last six years, Bopp, as sole manager of JMCFS, has operated unchecked by its board of directors and diverted the nonprofit’s funds to his law firm.  It alleges that Bopp, the law firm, and JMCFS owe more than $6.2 million in back taxes.

In addition to filing a whistleblower complaint with the IRS, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked the Indiana attorney general to investigate whether the JMCFS has violated Indiana law by diverting more than 99 percent of its revenue to Bopp’s law firm, according to a letter sent to Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office.

Complaints were also filed with U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett in the Southern District of Indiana, the Indiana Secretary of State, and the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

“Mr. Bopp is a self-described expert on the laws governing non-profits so he can’t claim to have made innocent mistakes,” Sloan said in a statement. “He knew what he was doing when he funneled all of JMCFS’s assets to his own firm and he had to know it was wrong.  Misusing a non-profit for personal gain is a serious offense and merits a thorough investigation.”

But Bopp said Wednesday he expects nothing to happen from these complaints. He said CREW has filed dozens of complaints against successful conservatives, such as Jim Dobson and Sean Hannity, but have never won on any of them. He referred to CREW as a “smear machine” that goes after people and groups whose views don’t match CREW’s.    

“I’ve represented groups they’ve filed IRS complaints against and nothing happened,” Bopp said.

CREW’s complaint is that Bopp is the only one paid by the JMCFS, he explained, but he’s the only one paid because he’s the only one who does work.

“[JMCFS] can only afford one lawyer. That’s me,” he said. The litigation center contracts with him and pays him to handle legal matters. He also pointed out that he’s donated millions of dollars in pro bono work to the group.

Bopp also said he’s paid taxes on every cent paid by JMCFS.

Bopp has gained national recognition for his work challenging campaign finance laws and regulations. He was one of the lead attorneys on the 2010 Citizens United case before the Supreme Court of the United States that allowed for unlimited contributions by corporations, unions, individuals, and private groups for political campaigns.

He’s also worked on judicial free speech cases and challenged judicial merit-selection systems in several states.
 

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  1. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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