If it Walks Like a Duck, and Quacks Like a Duck…

So in the midst of participating in an amazing conference at MIT’s Media Lab produced in conjunction with the Knight Foundation (thanks Chris Barr you rock!) today, we learned of additional conduct by the IRS with regard to their Exempt Division’s handling of 1023 filings (for 501.c.3 determination).  In particular, this revelation appeared in an NY Times article today:

But groups with no political inclinations were also examined. “Open source software” organizations seeking nonprofit status are usually for-profit business or for-profit support technicians of the software,” a lookout list warns. “If you see a case, elevate it to your manager.”

Please let us go on record once again, here and now:

  1. The OSDV Foundation’s 1023 application (filed in February 2007) states with sworn affidavits under penalties of perjury, that our charter Article II(A), defines the OSDV Foundation as an organization organized as a nonprofit public benefit corporation, not for the private gain of any person, and it is organized under California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public and charitable purposes, with by-laws consistent with that charter.
  2. We are not a “for-profit business,” rather we are a non-profit project, conducting our activities as such, and never intend to be a commercial operation, or convert into a commercial entity.
  3. We are genuinely seeking, through (continued) philanthropic support of larger grantor organizations, as well as through the generous support of individual citizens, to provide education, research, and reference development of blueprints for trustworthy elections technology, on an open source basis for the benefit of elections jurisdictions nationwide because the current commercial market place is woefully falling short of that capability.
  4. We are willing to ensure our reference designs and implementations, some reduced to software source code, remain up-to-date with as-then-published Federal and/or State-specific criteria or specifications, but we will not do so as a commercial venture.
  5. We reiterate here that we are notfor-profit support technicians” for any software that results from the efforts of this California public benefits non-profit corporation.

As you might imagine, these statements have been backed by over 6-years of considerable supporting documentation, sworn to be accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge, under penalties of perjury and backed by sworn, signed affidavits.

And to be sure, we take our sworn signed statements and veracity very seriously.

We remain hopeful that the IRS will ultimately acknowledge these points and grant us our exempt determination.

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