Ethics watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint with the IRS against Democratic congressional candidate and Arkansas state Rep. Clarke Tucker, claiming he has improperly administered a 501(c)(3) foundation.
Tucker is the sole trustee of the tax-exempt HLB Universal Healthcare Trust. Federal law states that such an organization may not be used to benefit a private individual.
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FACT says Tucker, who is running in Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District to unseat incumbent Rep. French Hill (R.), has been using the trust to gain financially.
"The complaint maintains that for over two years, the Trust, in clear violation of federal law, compensated Tucker over $41,000," FACT's statement said. "In fact, the payments Tucker received from HLB Universal Healthcare Trust in 2017 alone increased his overall income from $106,795 to $126,997—a boost of nearly 20 percent!"
"The law also states that ‘a private foundation is further restricted and is prohibited from engaging in ‘self-dealing.’ Prohibited self-dealing activity includes compensating disqualified persons, including foundation managers defined as an ‘officer, director, or trustee of a foundation,’’" FACT said. "Tucker is the sole-Trustee of the HLB Universal Healthcare Trust, which does not have any other officers or directors. And, while there is an exception to this rule, Representative Tucker did not meet that exception."
The watchdog group also claims the only charitable work performed by HLB Universal Healthcare Trust was a $50,000 grant administered to Harvard University, Tucker’s alma mater.
Tucker's campaign spokesman Graham Senor issued a statement saying the payments were proper, the Arkansas Times reports.
This is the exact type of false, negative political attack people are tired of.
Clarke oversees the trust of a passed family member, Cindy Bost, by the books and is acting in accordance with the law and her wishes in doing so. Her direction for the primary gift was to go to Harvard, which is why she selected Clarke to oversee the trust. This frivolous complaint is a desperate attempt to distract voters from Congressman Hill's record against Arkansas families and workers, which contrasts heavily with Clarke's work here in Arkansas protecting our health care, empowering entrepreneurs, investing in education, and standing up for our veterans.ing entrepreneurs, investing in education, and standing up for our veterans.
FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold explained why the IRS should investigate Clarke.
"Our tax laws have very strict and clear rules in place to ensure that those running tax-exempt charities aren’t stealing from those organizations for personal profit or political gain," Arnold said. "When you compare the very little charitable work HLB Universal Healthcare Trust has done with the extremely generous compensation Representative Clarke has received for running the Trust, something is seriously amiss. That is why we are asking the IRS to investigate this matter."