NEW: Kari Lake’s Save Arizona Fund Faces IRS Complaint

Thursday, June 20th, 2024

ARIZONA -–  According to new reporting from the Arizona Mirror, Kari Lake’s Save Arizona Fund is facing a complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service about whether Lake has improperly used the organization for her own private benefit, in violation of its tax-exempt status. 

The complaint outlines how “Lake has been using Save Arizona Fund as a way to fund her lawsuits that sought to overturn the results of the 2022 election, in which she lost.”

Save Arizona Fund (SAF) is organized as a tax-exempt non-profit, required to promote “social welfare,” but Kari Lake’s statements bring into question whether she is using the organization improperly. Lake repeatedly describes SAF as her “legal fund.” On multiple occasions Lake has made requests for donations to be sent to SAF to pay her lawyers in her failed efforts to overturn the results of the 2022 election.

Not only has Kari Lake characterized SAF as her legal fund, media and reports have characterized SAF as a funding vehicle for Lake:

  • Capitol Media Services: “… the Save Arizona Fund which Lake has used to raise cash for political purposes.”
  • Axios Phoenix: “She name-dropped her legal fundraising arm, Save Arizona Fund , which is footing the bill for her ongoing election lawsuits.”
  • Arizona Mirror: “And that money doesn’t include what Lake raised into a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called the Save Arizona Fund. It was created in early December 2022, and has since become the primary vehicle for Lake to raise cash to continue her legal fight against her election loss.”
  • KAWC: Lake was using Save Arizona Fund to “solicit donations” “to pay for her legal battle over Arizona’s election results” in which she asked the court to either declare her Governor or rerun the election in Maricopa County.
  • The Daily Mail: “… her so-called ‘Save Arizona Fund,’ a fundraiser she started to help foot legal bills in her pursuit to provide proof of a botched election.”

Allegations of Kari Lake’s misuse of Save Arizona Fund is another example of Kari Lake’s power hungry quest to stay in the “limelight:”

Read a copy of the complaint here.

Arizona Mirror: Democrat asks IRS to investigate nonprofit with ties to Kari Lake campaign, legal team

By: Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

June 20, 2024

Key Points:

  • Pinal County Democrats Chair Lisa Sanor is asking the Internal Revenue Service to  investigate a political action committee tied to Republican Senatorial hopeful Kari Lake, according to a copy of the complaint obtained exclusively by the Arizona Mirror.
  • The Save Arizona Fund was incorporated as a domestic nonprofit in Arizona in December 2022, shortly following Lake’s election loss to now Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs. It describes itself as an “Arizona-based non-profit social welfare organization operating as exempt from federal taxes” as a 501(c)(4) organization.
  • The complaint filed this week by Sanor claims that the organization has not pursued those goals but “instead operates primarily for the private benefit of Kari Lake” and requested that if the IRS finds they have not been “operating for the promotion of social welfare” that their tax-exempt status be revoked.
  • “Kari Lake only cares about boosting herself – but she isn’t above the rules,” Sanor said in a statement to the Mirror. “Arizonans deserve to know if she is illegally using this shady organization to pay her own lawyers to push conspiracy theories about past elections.”
  • The Lake campaign and Save Arizona Fund did not respond to a request for comment about the letter.
  • The letter claims that Lake has been using Save Arizona Fund as a way to fund her lawsuits that sought to overturn the results of the 2022 election, in which she lost. Lake has lost her lawsuits and her attorneys have faced disciplinary actions due to the allegations contained in them.
  • On Dec. 9, 2022, four days after Save Arizona Fund was created, Lake filed a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2022 election. That lawsuit would be dismissed just a few weeks later.
  • The following month, Save Arizona Fund would prominently feature Lake and her lawsuit, even posting a copy of it on its website. Lake also promoted the website online, posting to X, formerly Twitter, in December 2022 asking followers to “DONATE TO MY LEGAL FUND.”…
  • The letter to the IRS details many occasions in which Lake asked supporters to donate to help fund her legal expenses related to challenging election results.
  • In a space on X, in January 2023, Lake mentioned she had to pay her attorney $187,000 and asked people to donate…
  • The month prior, Lake had paid “Olsen Law PC” approximately $187,000 for “attorney fees,” according to campaign finance filings from her gubernatorial campaign. Kurt Olsen was one of Lake’s attorneys who is being investigated by the State Bar of Arizona.
  • Save Arizona Fund is also connected to key members of Lake and former President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
  • The fund’s statutory agent Timothy La Sota, who was Lake’s campaign attorney during her gubernatorial campaign. He also represented Lake in the defamation case brought by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and in a public records lawsuit Lake filed.
  • La Sota did not respond to a request for comment.
  • The director and CEO of the fund is Caroline Wren, who currently is a senior advisor to Lake’s Senate bid. Wren also was formerly an advisor to Trump who helped organize the rally in Washington D.C. that directly preceded the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
  • The letter also notes that the fund’s other director, Nicholas Moore, was reimbursed by the Lake Senate campaign over $120,000 for “travel/event/office supplies.”…
  • The letter to the IRS says that tax exempt organizations must operate “exclusively” for social welfare purposes and that there should be little “private benefit” to individuals or for-profit organizations. Sanor contends that the fund has not met those requirements and said that the IRS has brought action against similar situations.
  • “The facts and circumstances show that SAF operates primarily for the benefit of Ms. Lake, rather than the community as a whole,” the letter says, adding that the fund’s “primary purpose” does not appear to be the “promotion of social welfare.”
  • Sanor also wrote to the IRS saying that the fund may have been used to gather data on voters, since the website asked individuals to provide phone numbers which the website said were for “autodialed marketing messages.”…
  • Sanor’s letter asks that the IRS investigate these claims and take “immediate action” and determine whether the fund’s 501(c)(4) status should be revoked.
  • “Publicly available information strongly suggests SAF was formed, and has operated, to fund Ms. Lake’s campaign lawsuits, raise her public profile, promote her campaign issues, and provide her with valuable contact data,” the letter says. “The facts and circumstances indicate that SAF’s activity benefits Ms. Lake, and not the community as a whole.”

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