Anti-Fauci Animal Rights Group Accused Of Illegal Donations

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Last fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci came under a barrage of attacks from hysterical critics. But on this occasion, it wasn’t Trump supporters, anti-vaxxers, or COVID truthers. It was an even larger and even angrier group—one that falsely and bizarrely believed Fauci had funded medical experiments that tortured beagles with sand flies.

Now, the fringe-y, conservative animal rights organization behind that misinformation campaign is facing accusations that it violated a number of nonprofit tax laws.

The anti-Fauci vitriol that this group ginned up was worse than the already punishing norm for the government’s top COVID expert. The Washington Post reported in November that Fauci’s office received an average of 100 calls per hour for three days straight, with threats so intense that his assistant stopped answering the phone for two weeks.

The Post described the effort as a misleading “campaign” to “leverage existing hostility among conservatives toward Fauci to further its cause.” And the responsible entity—an obscure group called the “White Coat Waste Project”—bears longstanding ties to the conservative movement, including support from influential figures such as Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, a vocal animal rights advocate.

Those connections to right-wing politics helped fuel the group’s explosive but erroneous allegations against Fauci last fall.

But a new IRS complaint from the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability argues that some of the organization’s political activity has crossed into “blatant disregard” for the law.

“The careful coordination between White Coat Waste Project and its associated PAC, and the donations stemming from that coordination, show a blatant disregard for the rules prohibiting 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in political campaign activities,” Campaign for Accountability executive director Michelle Kuppersmith said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Letting these types of violations go on unpunished would set an unfortunate precedent that would only make future violations more likely.”

Justin Goodman, the spokesperson for the White Coat Waste Project, told The Daily Beast his organization complied with all “applicable” laws and dismissed the allegations as “politically-motivated.”

“We’re confident that we’re compliant with all laws applicable to our organization. It’s troubling that anyone would resort to politically-motivated attacks on an organization like ours that’s working to stop the government from abusing puppies and kittens with our tax dollars,” Goodman said.

The complaint—filed on Thursday and first obtained by The Daily Beast—alleges a number of violations over multiple years. The document makes the case that the founders of the WCWP nonprofit and its PAC have habitually raised money from prohibited sources, made impermissible campaign donations, and filed false records with federal agencies.

The case appears compelling.

The complaint’s central issue hinges on the claim that the nonprofit functions as a connected PAC, when the law prohibits the group from engaging with political campaigns. This overlap, the complaint says, feeds a number of violations.