Richard Spencer's white nationalist 'institute' gets back its tax-exempt status from the IRS

The National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank headed by Richard Bertrand Spencer, has just regained tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

The Associated Press (AP) today reported the IRS reinstated tax-exempt status for the group, which is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. NPI’s status was revoked in March 2017 after the IRS found the group hadn’t filed a tax return since 2012.

NPI was founded by white nationalist William H. Regnery II in 2005. According to its original mission statement, it aims to “elevate the consciousness of whites,” and “study the consequences of the ongoing influx that non-Western populations pose to our national identity.”

Spencer, who became president of NPI in 2011, told the AP that losing the tax-exempt status felt “like persecution.” He also said the organization neglected to file tax returns because of a classification error on the part of the IRS. The AP reported that the racist nonprofit was indeed misclassified at one point in 2006 or 2007.

Along with the tax problems, NPI has been beset by internal turmoil.

In April, the group’s executive director, Evan McLaren, took to Twitter to announce his departure after eight months on the job.

McLaren and Spencer said at the time the departure was part of a shuffling of people at the institute to ensure the right people were in the right spots.

But NPI never announced a successor to McLaren and didn’t acknowledge the departure on the group’s website.

Longtime Spencer ally Greg Conte announced in August that he was walking away from NPI as well as other racist “alt-right” groups.

The resignations covered positions Conte held at the Altright Corporation, another Spencer outfit, and Washington Summit Publishers, a small book-publishing operation that produces alt-right and conservative titles.

The departures followed Spencer’s announcement that his ill-received college speaking tour would come to an end.

Spencer stopped the tour, which saw violence at several appearances, after an engagement at Michigan State University in March resulted in multiple fights and arrests (including of Conte) outside the agricultural arena where a small audience went to hear him.

“In our lives, we always need to be course correcting. We always need to take a step back and think, and ask ourselves honestly, is this the right direction?” Spencer said in a 25-minute video posted on YouTube in March. “We need to do that with regard to my public appearances going forward or really any public appearance involving a controversial, alt-right identitarian figure.”

That same weekend, Spencer’s longtime attorney and alt-right associate, Kyle Bristow, deleted his sometimes-incendiary Twitter account and publicly walked away from his clients and politics (although he has quietly stepped back into representing some racist figures in court).

Facebook dropped two pages related to Spencer in April, although he, McLaren and Conte all maintain a presence on Twitter.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in April that the company tries to keep hate groups off the platform.

“So if there’s a group that, their primary purpose or a large part of what they do is spreading hate, we will ban them from the platform overall,” Zuckerberg told Congress.

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