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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

PELTIER: TAX DEDUCTIBLE & LEGAL ISSUES, PART III

Dear Supporters:

Regarding the ILPDC 9/19/2017 press release, let’s be very clear about who is responsible for this information. The original Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) that morphed into the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC), that mutated into the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC) has made it unmistakable over the years—from Peltier himself, that nothing is released or published without his approval. So, although this message is signed from “Paulette,” Leonard Peltier owns it. (Footnote 1)

The message begins with the caveat to “…please at least read the end of this letter—our good friend Leonard Peltier has a serious need.” (More on that in a moment.)

Among other things, Peltier wants the ILPDC relocated from Fargo, ND to somewhere near USP Coleman near Tampa, Florida.  (If it occurs, it will be one of many moves over the years.)

There is a “strategy for legal work” and the “legal team has generated a solid multi-faceted approach which outlines several avenues which may lead to Leonard’s release.” The goal is to get Peltier’s “case back into the court.” But Peltier also wants $125,000 for legal fees.

Legal Issues: 

This is a familiar refrain and it will be extraordinarily interesting to see what the solid multi-faceted legal strategy will be, a strategy that’s prompting a hundred-plus grand for attorney’s fees. The legal history of Peltier’s conviction is as transparent as glass and has been under a proverbial neutron microscope for over four decades where every issue (legitimate and frivolous) has been raised and resolved—none in Peltier’s favor. As for representation, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged, “Peltier was equally well-represented at trial and on appeal.”

Since then, Peltier has had many capable and concerned attorneys who dedicated hundreds, if not thousands of hours of pro bono efforts exploring all avenues of potential relief, all without success. Some of these attorneys, well intentioned and dedicated, have been literally kicked to the curb after having to deal with what appears to be Peltier’s ungrateful and taxing personality.

Although, there have been a few exceptions, like an attorney who absurdly stated publicly  …they (the FBI and government) don’t have any creativity, they don’t come up with anything new. They don’t have any greater ability to explain their justification for their position. It’s a very wooden position, kill an FBI agent and live the rest of your life in prison. I don’t think that’s going to impress very many people who aren’t already of the same opinion.” This was a nonsensical and moronic rhetorical statement that proved its own misguided premise. Yes, no mistaking that when you kill (two) FBI agents it triggers (no pun intended) spending one’s life in prison.  Hopefully, this effort was pro bono. Or, an attorney who when called upon to provide sworn testimony in a peripheral matter, took the fifth.

* * *
This blog was started after the 9/19/17 press release but wasn’t completed before the ILPDC sent out another message on 9/30/17 spelling out the hotly anticipated solid multifaceted legal strategy. (Fn.  2) The strategy was broken down into three categories:

1) Habeas Corpus: “On the grounds that Leonard’s incarceration is unconstitutional.” That road has been driven down many times by capable attorneys. There are no “new grounds.” It’s a dead end. But with comments like, “may be difficult” and “there is no guarantee,” at least there’s a hint of reality that this is a waste of time and billable hours.

2) Parole: It should be fairly clear that parole is off the table for Peltier with the 2009 fifteen-year reconsideration hearing (being flopped until 2024). Peltier, by his own admission has not been a model inmate, having served over five years in solitary. He has received many disciplinary actions; even transfers and no one should forget the armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary. For which, by the way, Peltier has to serve an additional seven consecutive years.  (Peltierites always seem to forget that little nugget.)

3) Compassionate release: “The possibility…based on declining health,” “...intended for prisoners with terminal illnesses,” “no definitive regulations,” “Leonard’s medical condition does not make a release on this basis possible although hiring of outside medical experts may be necessary,” “…open to interpretation,” all paint a an obviously unproductive and bleak picture.

Nevertheless, how’s this for compassion? Show Peltier as much compassion as he gave to Jack Coler and Ron Williams. That would be absolutely, none!

The solid multifaceted legal strategy seems a little weak in the knees and has about as much likelihood of success as Satan ice skating to work. Although, the strategy does make it sound urgent and dire for the unsuspecting to fork over some cash.  At least that’s what it sounds like.

* * *
Tax deductible and the IRS:

The 9/19/17 message ended with:

Please consider a ttax-deductible (sic) donation to Leonard’s legal team. The ILPDC will insure (sic) your gift goes 100% toward the pursuit of Leonard’s freedom.” And, Please send what you can today! Don’t hesitate. Don’t depend on someone else. Please lend a hand today. Let’s do this together and position Leonard’s legal team for success!” (Both statements contain links directly to Peltier’s website.)

Calling donations a “gift” is a humorous misnomer when combined with the claim that monies sent are “tax-deductible” and just as critical, 100% will go to Peltier’s legal team and defense.

Let’s explore—again—why Peltier is not a charity case and soliciting tax-deductible donations for a convicted incarcerated felon is against IRS regulations as required by law.

IRS regulations are fairly clear about who can and cannot make a claim for tax-deductible donations:

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual…The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator's family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization.
(Fn. 3)


(On 9/25/17 a polite email was sent to the ILPDC advising of potential issues with claiming tax-deductible donations. As of this blog, no response has been received. Fn. 4)

Concerned citizens, exercising their First Amendment rights are able to inquire of the IRS whether it is legal for a convict serving consecutive life sentences—for a brutal double murder—can claim that any money sent to an organization funded on his behalf can solicit those donations as “tax-deductible.” Likewise, under the guise of a 501(c)3, redirect money for the same purpose to an individual and/or his family for an alleged legal fund.

The IRS makes the process very simple utilizing #13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) form, available on the irs.gov website. (Fn. 5)

Leonard Peltier is a classic example of the whim of Peltierites who avoid knowledge that conflict with the myth and folklore. Knowledge that interferes with short-term interests to milk the cash cow dry.

The 9/30/17 release ended with an issue of cancelled visitor days at USP Coleman:

Leonard was very upset as he say’s ‘time is too short for me, and to not see my great grandson is very upsetting.’ Leonard has very few pleasures in life, the most important is his visits with family and friends.”

Pleasures? Life? Upsetting? Time, thanks to the vicious acts of convicted felon Leonard Peltier, was violently ended for Jack Coler and Ron Williams and how important it would have been for them to see their family and friends.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

Footnotes:
1) goo.gl/PEiCCH
2) goo.gl/tsASo5
4) From: Ed Woods
Subject: Paulette posting 9/19/17
Date: September 25, 2017 at 10:39:27 AM EDT
To: Dauteuil Paulette

Dear Ms. Dauteuil:

I know that I am not the most popular person to hear from, but please give me a moment to share some information. 

Your recent posting was very sincere and heartfelt and I understand and appreciate your commitment, however, when in comes to Leonard, we will just have to agree to disagree on certain matters.

Although, and perhaps you were not aware and may have done it for altruistic reasons,  but advertising tax-deductible donations for Leonard’s legal fund and attorney’s fees is against IRS laws and could create legal issues for him, the ILPDC and the IRC (see below). The IRC, even as a 501(c)3 is cloaking its "tax-deductible” advertising by also funneling funds for other purposes. 

Leonard and his supporters are entitled to raise as much as they can in donations but he also needs to avoid potential issues with the IRS.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Regards,
Ed W.

(Note: The 9/30/17 press release did not include that solicitations are tax-deductible.  Perhaps Ms. Dauteuil took heed of the advice. However, that does not alter the fact that for many years Peltier has possibly violated IRS regulations regarding tax-exempt organizations and tax-deductible donations.)