Historical Society Loses Status; Nonprofit No Longer Tax-Exempt

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 25, 2007 | Go to article overview

Historical Society Loses Status; Nonprofit No Longer Tax-Exempt


Byline: Natasha Altamirano, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A Virginia group that donated a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln to the National Park Service in 2003 was recently stripped of its tax-exempt status, according to Internal Revenue Service records.

It is not clear why the Richmond-based United States Historical Society lost its tax-exempt status, for which certain nonprofits - such as charitable or educational organizations - can apply.

The group is a self-described "private non-profit educational organization dedicated to fostering increased awareness and appreciation of America's culture and history," according to its Web site.

Martin J. Moran, president of the United States Historical Society, did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

Mr. Moran told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported the story yesterday, that the statue of Lincoln and his son, Tad, is "one of the biggest and best undertakings the society has ever done."

In January 2003, Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican, asked the Park Service to investigate potential fraud by the historical society, which, according to the society's literature, was selling miniature bronze replicas of the statue for $875 each to fund the life-size one that stands at the Richmond National Battlefield Park.

The project cost an estimated $250,000. It is not known how many statues were sold or how much money the group made.

The statue was dedicated in April 2003 to mark Lincoln's visit to the war-ravaged Confederate capital in 1865.

The Park Service investigated the matter in February 2003 and concluded the fraud charges were unfounded. …

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