[Make sure to read Daniel Greenfield’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
The Department of Justice has spent years in litigation with Safehouse. The Philly based nonprofit wants to run a ‘crackhouse’ where addicts can use drugs under ‘supervision’.
‘Safe injection sites’ have become popular with pro-crime policymakers but, like a lot of drug-based efforts, are illegal at a federal level. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 makes it a crime to “knowingly open, lease, rent, use, or maintain any place, whether permanently or temporarily, for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance” punishable by a fine of $2 million and as much as 20 years in prison.
“The issue is that people who are addicted to narcotics, that get to heroin, are no different than anyone with high blood pressure, or diabetes, or cancer,” Mayor Jim Kenney argued in defense of the crackhouse. “We don’t question the fact that people go for treatment for these diseases.”
The majority of Philly residents disagreed with the idea that shooting up heroin is like diabetics getting insulin and so did the City Council which recently passed a ban on ‘safe injection’ crackhouses by a vote of 13 to 1.
In its latest move in federal court, Safehouse is making the frivolous argument that operating a crackhouse is protected under Freedom of Religion. “There are many ways for Safehouse’s board members to exercise their broadly stated religious beliefs that do not involve maintaining a facility for individuals to consume drugs,” the Justice Department replied.
But while the federal litigation continues, Safehouse continues to take in donations as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Justice Department may have a problem with Safehouse running a crackhouse, but the IRS does not object to a nonprofit crackhouse. Even though it’s illegal.
Tax code regulations state that “exempt purposes may generally be equated with the public good, and violations of law are the antithesis of the public good”. They warn that the, “violation of constitutionally valid laws is inconsistent with exemption under IRC 501(c)(3)” and that “planned activities that violate laws are not in furtherance of a charitable purpose”.”
Either the IRS believes that ‘shooting up’ equates with the public good or that the ‘Crackhouse Statute’ is not a constitutionally valid law. Either that or it decided to just ignore the law.
Safehouse first received its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2019. Treating Safehouse as a 501(c)(3) not only provided a lucrative source of donations, but was used by the organization to argue that its activities had been approved of by a branch of the federal government.
“I think it is important for the court to know that a federal agency has looked at this activity and determined that it’s lawful,” Ronda Goldfein, Safehouse’s vice president, had argued.
Safehouse has taken in over half a million dollars since the IRS provided it with tax-exempt status. Some of that money appears to have been used to fund its battles against the federal government. By providing Safehouse with nonprofit status, the IRS was effectively funding litigation by the proposed drug den against the Justice Department’s efforts to enforce the law.
Who at the IRS decided to sign off on a crackhouse and its lawfare operation?
And Safehouse is not the only IRS approved ‘crackhouse’.
OnPoint NYC, which operates two “supervised injection sites” where addicts stop by to shoot up some heroin and then watch some television, is also a 501(c)(3). Users can get brand new shiny new needles and hot towels that “really bring those veins up.”
According to the IRS, maintaining a “smoking room” and hot towels that bring up veins is also a tax-exempt public good.
OnPoint NYC took in $2.6 million in 2021 and $3.8 million in 2020. While the media and politicians have hailed the operation, local residents don’t want crackhouses in their communities. They were so unpopular that Al Sharpton took part in a protest against them.
Even Damian Williams, a Biden appointee and the first black US Attorney of the Southern District of New York, made it very clear that OnPoint’s operations are illegal.
“That is unacceptable,” he warned. “My office is prepared to exercise all options — including enforcement — if this situation does not change in short order.”
The IRS however has chosen to continue treating OnPoint as legal in defiance of the law.
In Rhode Island, Project Weber/RENEW is planning to open a government approved drug den where junkies can “use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff”.
Project Weber/Renew is a 501(c)(3) which has taken in $1.68 million in 2021. And it’s the third example of the IRS allowing drug dens to operate as nonprofits even while violating federal law.
By providing crackhouses with nonprofit status, the IRS is encouraging the trend of injection sites, allowing these organizations to finance their operations and litigation using taxpayer money, and creating the appearance, as it did with Safehouse in Philly, that the federal government approves of them.
Nonprofit crackhouses are far from the only example of illegal and criminal activities being engaged in by nonprofits with the complicity of the IRS. The Freedom Center’s Internal Radical Service project has turned up plenty of examples from Antifa’s nonprofit infrastructure to Islamic terrorist groups, but the IRS crackhouses are unique because one arm of the federal government is fighting them even while another arm of the government is licensing them.
By providing nonprofit status to crackhouses, the IRS has effectively sidelined the Department of Justice and offered a private finding that they ought to be able to operate legally. That is not an authority that the IRS holds and it has refused to make its internal determinations public.
The IRS has often been accused of acting as a law unto itself, but when it comes to nonprofit crackhouses, it is literally doing so, deciding which laws to enforce and which to set aside.
Congress did not allocate such a power to the IRS. It is not up to the IRS to decide that the ‘Crackhouse Statute’ does not apply. Nor should the IRS be providing nonprofit status to organizations like Safehouse to fund litigation against the government.
America has a drug epidemic. And it also has a bureaucracy epidemic. Much like drug use on the streets of Philadelphia and New York City, the administrative state is out of control.
While parts of the government are waging a war on drugs, the IRS is waging a war for drugs.
The IRS decision to go rogue on crackhouses makes it a threat to the republic and the rule of law. The streets of Philadelphia need to be cleaned up, but so do the offices of the IRS.