NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Nonprofit Groups Are Tax Funded Lobbyists

July 13, 2001

Many groups that receive taxpayer funding also lobby the federal government -- for more taxpayer funding. Although federal law bans nonprofit groups from taking part in partisan politics or using government grants to lobby, cash is fungible -- so a government grant to "help children" or "save the environment" frees up resources from these groups' private fundraising activities to buy advertising and advocate more federal funding.

According to researchers at the Cato Institute and the Capital Research Center who totted up the groups and grants:

  • The nonprofit advocacy groups have received nearly $618 million since 1996.
  • The biggest lobbyist is the Alliance for Retired Americans (formerly the National Council of Senior Citizens), which received more than half the total.
  • Second is the National Urban League, which received nearly $124 million in taxpayers' money.
  • Next are the Young Women's Christian Association of the USA ($48.8 million), Arc of the United States ($18.8 million), and the National Council of Churches ($18.4 million).

In all, Cato and CRC identified more than 50 nonprofit groups that both lobby and receive federal funding.

Source: Editorial, "Sinful and Tyrannical," Investor's Business Daily, July 13, 2001.


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