FACTCalls on the IRS to Investigate Arkansas State Representative Clarke Tucker
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Says Legislator Improperly Used Private Foundation He Runs for Personal Gain
The non-partisan ethics watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint today with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Arkansas State Representative, Clarke Tucker, for improperly using a private foundation, of which he is the sole trustee, to improperly enrich himself and support his alma mater, Harvard University.
Representative Tucker is the sole-trustee of the private foundation, HLB Universal Healthcare Trust, a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) private foundation. Under federal law, no part of a tax-exempt organization’s income may inure to the benefit of any private individual. The complaint maintains that for over two years, the Trust, in clear violation of federal law, compensated Tucker over $41,000. In fact, the payments Tucker received from HLB Universal Healthcare Trust in 2017 alone increased his overall income from $106,795 to $126,997—a boost of nearly 20 percent!
The law also states that “a private foundation is further restricted and is prohibited from engaging in ‘self-dealing.’ Prohibited self-dealing activity includes compensating disqualified persons, including foundation managers defined as an ‘officer, director, or trustee of a foundation.’” Tucker is the sole-Trustee of the HLB Universal Healthcare Trust, which does not have any other officers or directors. And, while there is an exception to this rule, Representative Tucker did not meet that exception.
Furthermore, records show that HLB Universal Healthcare Trust has engaged in little or no charitable work, except for a grant of $50,000 made by the Trust to Clarke’s alma mater, Harvard University back in 2016.
“Our tax laws have very strict and clear rules in place to ensure that those running tax-exempt charities aren’t stealing from those organizations for personal profit or political gain,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). “When you compare the very little charitable work HLB Universal Healthcare Trust has done with the extremely generous compensation Representative Clarke has received for running the Trust, something is seriously amiss. That is why we are asking the IRS to investigate this matter.”
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/.