Monday, December 31, 2012

IRS 990 Transparency:
NRA v Brady, Focus & Heritage

When it comes to providing donors, reporters and bloggers and the general public with modern fiscal transparency, and meeting the widely accepted best practice of nonprofits posting their most current IRS 990 filing, the National Rifle Association is back in the pre-web age.

The NRA's site omits reference to their IRS 990s on their About Us page, does not post a single filing or link to the three most current tax filings available at the GuideStar site. At least the NRA Foundation's site contains information about whom to contact for their annual report, but that site also fails to mention the NRA and the NRA Foundation's 990s. The NRA sites also don't share any annual reports just a click or two away. You have to request both their 990s and annual reports.

On the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's page for annual reports makes the five current reports available for public inspection along with links to what they say are their most recent IRS 990s for the center and Brady Campaign affiliate.

However, those 990 filings are for fiscal year 2008 and the center needs to post the 2011 annual report but the center gets credit for making those previous 990s available.

I've emailed the NRA and the Brady Center requesting that they immediately share their most current IRS 990 filings and annual reports on their respective web sites. They sure as heck don't sure the same policy positions, but on fiscal sunshine matters let's hope both organizations find common ground and soon are as transparent as possible.

If the NRA wants a prime example of another well-funded conservative nonprofit voluntarily meeting generally accepted principles of fiscal sunshine, the gun rights group can look to the Focus on the Family organization.

Their financials page shares three years' worth of current annual reports, IRS 990 and IRS 990-T filings for a total of six tax filings just a click away. Actually, the Brady Center could also learn from the Focus on the Family example of transparency in action.

Another conservative group with decent transparency principles in effect is the Heritage Foundation which on their About Us page is well-stocked with ten annual reports and audited financial statements available, and a link to their most current IRS 990 posted at

Sure, I would prefer that Heritage post their 990s on their site, they get credit for the link.

Let the sunshine in, with just a few clicks and without having to file a request for IRS 990s!

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