Lozano contributes to his campaign from nonprofit, apparently illegally
by David Crowder
Posted on May 1, 2009
Jose Alexandro Lozano, who is challenging city Rep. Emma Acosta in the May 9 elections, gave himself what appears to be an illegal campaign contribution last month from a nonprofit corporation he created in 2008.
Lozano’s April 9 campaign finance report shows, in virtually illegible handwriting, a $1,210 contribution made to him on March 5 by the Institute for Culture Learning.
According to records on file with the Texas Secretary of State, Lozano and two others formed a nonprofit corporation, a 501c3, named the Institute for Culture Learning of El Paso on April 17, 2008.
Nonprofit corporations are prohibited by federal and state law from making contributions to political races.
Lozano acted confused about the matter when Newspaper Tree contacted him Thursday to ask why he contributed funds from his own 501c3 to his political campaign.
“I don’t know. Because I just did,” he said.
Then, saying had to speak to someone else, Lozano hung up. Subsequent calls to his cell phone went unanswered and were transferred to his voice mail.
The Internal Revenue Service states that 501c3 organizations “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective office.”
A violation of that provision can result in the denial or revocation of a corporations non-profit status.
In addition, the Texas Election Code states, “A corporation or labor organization may not make a political corporation or political expenditure.”
It is illegal on both ends, for the donor corporation to make a campaign contribution and for a candidate to accept a corporate contribution.
Documents filed with the state show Lozano listed as the registered agent for the Institute for Culture Learning. The corporation’s official address is Lozano’s home address, 7404 Franklin Dr. in the Mission Valley.
The other two directors are Ruby Diaz, who lives in a West Side apartment complex at 5450 Suncrest St., and Jose Rodriguez, whose San Elizario address is 1591 San Elizario Rd.
They could not be reached for comment.
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David Crowder, a reporter for Newspaper Tree, is president of the El Paso Press Club. To reach him, write to email@example.com or call (915) 351-0605, ext. 30
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