A Texas judge has ruled to strip a Tea Party-aligned group of its non-profit status. The judge ruled that the group, King Street Patriots (KSP), was actually a political action committee (PAC) for engaging in anti-voter fraud efforts.
In reality, the True the Vote campaign is separate from KSP; while both were founded by Tea Party activist Catherine Engelbrecht, the two entities operate separately. “Everyone labels us as the same organization and I think they do that because it’s a political maneuver to create the impression that the facts are other than what they actually are,” says Catherine Englebrecht, the founder of both organizations. “If we were to argue this on the facts they wouldn’t have a case.” Engelbrecht said that although she is the founder of both groups, they have acted completely apart from one another. “We’re taking a number of actions to make sure that it’s clear the groups operate independently from one another, which they always have.”
The Democratic Party has charged that True the Vote made unlawful political contributions to the Texas Republican Party by working with the party to train poll watchers and by holding candidate forums that were limited to GOP candidates. “Neither group has ever given a political campaign contribution to a political candidate or party,” said Engelbrecht.
“King Street Patriots has on occasion allowed Republican candidates and officials to come speak–which they can do as a 501(c)(4)–but True the Vote has not.” True the Vote fought the Democratic Party’s lawsuit in a counterclaim by challenging several Texas campaign finance laws related to campaign contributions and political action committees.