National Iranian American Council’s status questioned

The Washington Times examines the status of the National Iranian American Council in this article this morning.

Mr. [Trita] Parsi defended his decision to organize NIAC as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and declare on tax forms that his group does not engage in lobbying – a status that enables donors to deduct contributions on their taxes.

“NIAC is a 501(c)(3) educational organization that engages in advocacy and also has a right to engage in lobbying,” he said. “But we are not a (c)(4), we are not a lobby. Is there anything wrong in being a lobby? Not in our view. But this is what we are, at this stage.”

However, in a July 2008 memo obtained by The Times, [acting policy director] Mr. [Patrick] Disney quoted the Lobbying Disclosure Act – a law that says even the preparation of materials aimed at influencing legislation or policy must be disclosed to the public – and said he and a colleague should register as lobbyists.

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