US Senator Ted Cruz spoke to a group of veterans at a stopover in Wichita Falls on Wednesday afternoon.
The kitchen on Wednesday shooed the front door a few hours earlier than usual to make room for US Senator Ted Cruz's election campaign.  Normally, they could linger after lunch to play dominoes until 4 pm and play in the charitable organization of meals on wheels and other services. But they had to leave at 1.30pm so the organizers could prepare for the 15.00.
A few days earlier, the charitable organization had sent an email with a link to register for "Ted Cruz for the Senate – Wichita Falls, TX Campaign Event Tickets".
"It should not be a campaign event," said Pam Hughes, marketing director of the kitchen, the Times Record News the day before Cruz's visit on April 4. "We wanted to give our veterans a chance to talk to the senator about veteran matters."
The senator's re-election website listed Wichita Falls as a "campaign event".
Some Wichitans, at least, question the adequacy of Cruz's appearance at the charity and, possibly, his potential burden on the charitable organization – tax-free since 1967.
If they engage in political campaigns, 501 risk (c) (3) Nonprofits like The Kitchen pay their taxes -Exempt status and certain taxes. The IRS identifies violations on a case-by-case basis.
The Kitchen was involved in the senator's stop because the local Chapter of Disabled American Veterans wanted a larger venue for him, Hughes said Tuesday.
Stop The Problem With A Campaign, An Answer From Above Kitchen Speaker
John Richie, chairman of the Wichita County Democratic Party, said the DAV should have done all the footwork for the senator's appearance.
"The kitchen should have stayed away," Richie said. "Do not jeopardize the program because of your partisanship." In this community too many people depend on you. "
Long is a popular institution in Wichita Falls. The Kitchen is also known as Senior Citizens Services of North Texas Inc. Both children and seniors turn to the diet and offer others
Kitchen Board Chair Debra Suggs said the nonprofit organization was a "nonpartisan charity."
"Occasionally politicians of both parties The parties will ask to speak with the citizens here," Suggs said on Wednesday by e-mail.
But for 501 (c) (3) nonprofits, there are fairly specific – though not often enforced – bans on political campaigning activities, Don Hamlin of Wichita Falls said in an interview.
His concern led him to submit a letter to the editor on Friday.
"I would like to understand how the board and the management of Wichita Falls' kitchen deemed it appropriate. An event (Senator Ted Cruz) that was completely political advocacy," wrote Hamlin.
As a board member of tax-exempt organizations over the past three decades, "I just can not understand this action," Hamlin wrote.
Others expressed concerns in the social media, but when contacted by the Times Record News, they did not want to comment for fear of backlash.
Annette Barfield, deputy chairman of the Wichita Republican Party, said Cruz would come to DAV Chapter 41 to address veterans issues.
"He made it so eloquent, it was not political at all, to be honest," Barfield said.
Local Nonprofit Advisor sheds light on the problem
In general, Stewart Harvey, executive director of Texoma's Nonprofit Center, said he encouraged public charities to get involved in their mission.
But they can not support political candidates or campaign workers as 501 (c) (3) organizations, he said.
"I would always advise a public charity to look at the optics of their actions and what they do," said Stewart. "Their intentions can be perceived differently by the public or the public."
He said the context is always important.
"Sometimes we do not think what others say," said Stewart.
Campaign posters in their seats in the kitchen
On a rare visit to the Wichita Falls, Cruz delivered a speech Wednesday was part of a three-day swing through the state to begin his re-election campaign.
November 6 In the election, he faces US MEP Beto O & Rourke, an outsider Democrat from El Paso.
On Monday, Hughes wrote to potential attendees and described Cruz's visit as a thank-you to The Kitchen supporters.
Clicking on a link in the email led to an invitation from Ted Cruz for the Senate, "The profound sacrifices and the duration of recognizing the impact of our veterans community in Texas."
It was free and open to everyone, but registration required.
"There was so much interest that we opened it to the public so everyone could come," Hughes said Tuesday. "That should not be political at all."
For a second term, the senator on Wednesday stamped a rousing speech to open-minded listeners. He emphasized veterans and their service to the nation.
Cruz admonished audience members to redden Texas, easily gaining approval with his views on Democrats and Liberals.
Audience members held posters and stickers bearing the Cruz campaign slogan "Tough Like Texas." The campaign gear was waiting for them on the seats of their chairs upon their arrival, the poster with the revelation, "Paid by Cruz for Senate."  Cruz did not take any questions publicly from audience members. He interacted with them after the event.
A Response from Cruz's Campaign
What did Cruz say about charitable charities and the ban on political campaigns?
During a press conference after the speech on Wednesday, he answered a question about the border and then switched to another questioner – without addressing the question about the charitable theme.
Afterwards, an election worker said that the senator did not engage in logistics.
As long as a place is made available to any candidate of any party or descent Who wants to come, a charity is not biased and may host political events, said Catherine Frazier, Cruz senior communications consultant.
Suggs noted that last summer the DAV had loaned The Kitchen's facilities to O 'Rourke to talk with veterans
The veterans group again requested the use of the charity facilities for Cruz & # 39; Appearance The Kitchen admitted as O & Gourke, Suggs said.
DAV Chapter 41 met once in the kitchen and moved to another meeting place in the fall of 2017, according to the group's website
What is a violation of the ban on political intervention for charities?
Among the factors considered by the IRS in determining a violation of the prohibitions of the political campaign Whether a non-profit candidate has treated the candidates the same is questionable.
For example, the IRS rejected a non-profit candidacy by inviting a candidate to speak at an event that asks another candidate for a less important task. The agency also considers whether the charity maintained an impartial atmosphere during the event and made it clear in what capacity the candidate was performing.
Also in the game is whether the non-profit party mentions the political candidacy or upcoming elections in communications
But the agency considers "facts and circumstances" of each case to decide whether a 501 (c) (3 ) Organization has violated the ban on IRS terms "political intervention".
In any case, such charities "absolutely forbidden to participate directly or indirectly in political campaigns in the name of (or in opposition to) to any candidate for the elective office", according to the IRS.
O & Rourkes visit to the kitchen
On O & Rourkes visit during the summer, he "did the same thing, answered all sorts of tough questions" in the kitchen, "Hughes said Tuesday.
He talked about the need for services at Sheppard Air Force Base so veterans do not have to drive to Oklahoma – a big concern for them, she said.
"It was not a campaign event," Hughes said. "We would not want to do anything that would make it look like a campaign event."
O Rourke's visit to The Kitchen on August 10 was a "great" veterans' roundtable, where the local DAV chapter helped coordinate, said Ana Castañón, a deputy communications consultant for Beto for Texas.
Joel Jimenez, commander of DAV Chapter 41, said it was open to the public, and the chapter invited all other veteran organizations.
"There was probably about 50 75 at Beto's deal," Jimenez said. "I think there were more questions about his visit."
The registration form for O Rourke's appearance at The Kitchen featured 15 veterans present, though there may have been a few who did not sign up, Castañón said by email
Jimenez said both politicians remained in order to answer all veteran questions. Cruz did not go until then, even though he had a tight schedule.
A Visit to Another Charity Organization
Castañón said that O Rourke also stopped by Wichita Falls Area Food Bank on August 10 to grab food.
His campaign team put together "power packs" for the youth in the area and posted a video on Facebook in which he talked about what the WFAFB – also a 501 (c) (3) organization – is doing for the area ,  He interviewed the charity staff about their jobs and about Wichita Falls in general. There were no enthusiastic spectators or campaign posters, though it was a photo opportunity.
Hundreds turned up the same day as O'Rourke held an open town hall at The Highlander, Castañón said. He returned on February 16, 2018 and housed another city hall at Midwestern State University.
DAV Chapter 41 replies
Neither O'Rourke's veteran event on August 10 nor Cruz's April 4 were listed in the Chapters' online calendar, which seemed to show only entries for the group's Saturday sessions.
Loved in an area revered by veterans and Sheppard Air Force Base, DAV Chapter 41 is also a non-profit organization. But it's a different kind of The Kitchen.
The chapter is a non-profit organization that works according to different rules when it comes to political activities.
As a social welfare institution, the chapter may participate in politics and influence elections, as long as that is not their primary focus, according to the IRS.
But Jimenez said service organizations like the local DAV group need to be very careful.
"We are not a political machine," he said. "As a national organization, we have to stay neutral."
Jimenez said he understood that questions about charities and political activities might come up, but DAV Chapter 41 followed the rules.
"We have to live together on this old world," he said. "If people see it differently, they have an opinion."
Whoever wins the Senate elections hopes the veterans will be concerned.
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